Sunday, January 24, 2010
Slime Mould redesigns road networks in England and Japan
New Scientist reports on research findings by computer scientists in the UK that suggests slime mould, P. polycephalum, which feeds by spawning tendrils to reach nutrients,will map the most efficient network linking cities from London to Glasgow. This follows Japanese research that used the same technique to map the Tokyo rail network. The findings, published in the journal Science on January 22 2010 are applicable to human built networks as Wolfgang Marwan of Otto von Guericke University in Germany writes, "The model captures the basic dynamics of network adaptability through interaction of local rules, and produces networks with properties comparable to or better than those of real-world infrastructure networks... The work of Tero and colleagues provides a fascinating and convincing example that biologically inspired pure mathematical models can lead to completely new, highly efficient algorithms able to provide technical systems with essential features of living systems, for applications in such areas as computer science."