Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nature offers guidance on organising dynamic networks

26.05.2006


Today, for many, computer networks are an indispensable infrastructure that interconnects people, places and organisations. But increasingly they are beginning to creak as their complexity grows. Biological systems through years of evolution can offer clues on how to cope, as a research project has demonstrated.



"Even a minor perturbation on a network can cause major problems," says Dr Ozalp Babaoglu at the University of Bologna. "Simply adding a computer or installing an operating system can suddenly mean that the printer stops working or you can’t access your files."

The problem is caused by complex systems, where a large number a simple elements interact. And networking can be complex. Millions of interconnected nodes create inherent complexity and a growing sophistication of interactions between devices means complexity exists even when the number of devices is modest.


Enter the BISON project funded under the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies initiative.

BISON is inspired by Complex Adaptive Systems like ants, fireflies and even single cells. "Complexity in computing is already a problem, and traditional methods are no longer adequate to address the problems," says Babaoglu, BISON’s coordinator. "And it’s going to get worse as the internet becomes increasingly complex. Biological systems, on the other hand, are incredibly resilient and amazingly robust, so we’re taking inspiration from a system that we know works."

BISON took a ’modular’ approach, using simple and predictable services as building blocks, or protocols, to develop more complex functions.

Using simple protocols the group validated its approach by developing a load-balancing protocol, which is very important to stop traffic from overwhelming a particular node. With the proof of principle established, it’s hoped others will begin designing further tools.

"The load balancing protocol was inspired by negative chemotaxis," says Babaoglu. Chemotaxis is a process where single cells or multicellular organisms move towards a chemical stimulus. Negative chemotaxis in the digital world prompts data to spontaneously disperse, effectively balancing the data load across the network.

BISON focused on adaptive routing and radio power management to tackle the fundamental challenge in ad hoc networks of a constantly changing network topology. Not only are nodes moving but they are constantly entering and leaving the network. What’s more, power is a crucial issue: use more power to boost the signal and the device runs out of energy. Lower signal power and the network becomes disconnected.

It used Ant Colony Optimisation (ACO), a computing scheme inspired by the way ants leave and follow paths to find the shortest route to food.

In the computing paradigm, tiny packets of data, called ants, are sent out to find the most efficient routing choice based on the twin needs of connectivity and power management. Called AntHocNet, it is an attempt to create an ACO routing algorithm, which works efficiently in Mobile Ad hoc Networks, combining reactive path finding and repairing with proactive path maintenance and improvement.

The attempt looks successful. BISON conducted a large series of simulations of its AntHocNet against an algorithm for routing data across Wireless Mesh Networks.

"We were successful in developing robust, adaptive protocols," said Babaoglu. "But we were surprised that their performance was so good. We expected to lose performance, but our protocols are comparable to what’s available today."

BISON also developed a synchronicity protocol inspired by fireflies. Synchronicity is important to time the execution of certain functions in a network. Fireflies very quickly synchronise their light emission, rather like clapping in an audience, and Babaoglu says it could become the basis for developing a heartbeat on the internet.

Most of BISON’s work is not yet ready for commercial deployment, though the AntHocNet is very close, but the team’s approach is very promising and has generated a lot of interest among researchers.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/82144
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668

nachricht Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>