Feeds

Bumblebee boogie analysis in webserver boost

Drone dancefloor plan is the proverbial insect limb joint

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Researchers in Georgia, USA, reckon they can increase the efficiency of web servers by mimicking the methods used by honey bees to collect nectar.

It seems that the new hive-mind technology was the brainchild of Professor Craig Tovey of the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT).

“I studied bees for years, waiting for the right application,” Tovey said. “You have to look for a close analogy between two systems — never a superficial one... this definitely fit the bill.”

By lucky hap, Tovey's years of avid bee-watching paid off during a discussion with Sunil Nakrani of the Oxford computer-science department. Tovey and Nakrani realised that the task of serving web pages was uncannily similar to that of sucking sugar out of flowers.

More specifically, it was the bees' internal organisation that held useful lessons for servers. Bees have no central command or leadership (the "queen" is mainly concerned with laying eggs rather than directing the nectar harvest). Rather, the cunning insect workers pass information to each other by doing complicated little dances in the hive.

Bees coming back from a rich patch of nectar let their buddies know about it, and more bees pile in to the relevant flowers until all the sticky goodness is gone. The last few bees coming back tell everyone that the patch is worked out, and resources go elsewhere.

Tovey and Nakrani set to work at GIT to develop a "dancefloor" for servers, assigning resources to sites in the same way as bees deal with flowers. In their research, published in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, they claim that "the honeybee method typically improves service by 4 percent to 25 percent in tests based on real Internet traffic."

The main question raised by all this, of course, is what happens to biomimetics researchers who study the wrong kind of animals and never develop a useful application? Presumably there are people out there furiously boning up on weasels, fruitbats, plankton etc, hoping ever more desperately as the years go by that some kind of robotics or computing analogy will present itself, only to eventually retire and die disappointed.

Perhaps we need some kind of bee-style way of assigning biomimetics researchers more efficiently. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
Disaster Recovery upstart joins DR 'as a service' gang
Quorum joins the aaS crowd with DRaaS offering
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.