The ‘Anternet’: Signals Ants Send to Each Other Similar to TCP Algorithms

Media_httpfarm4static_cjjgk
Photo credit: Ants and Aphids, Backlit by Binux via flickr.com

A collaboration between a Stanford ant biologist and a computer scientist has revealed that the behavior of harvester ants as they forage for food mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet.

Redditors CiXeL and Aahzmundus posed some interesting questions:

“I had always wondered if it were possible to figure out the pheromone instructions to instruct ants to assemble buildings.”

“I was thinking about this the other day. Imagine we need to dig a tunnel to lay down some underground pipe. Instead of digging out the street we make some robot ant with a pheromone to “trick” other ants into working for it. Set up some sugar water stations near by and your workforce is set to go.

Or modify paper wasps/bees so that their building substances are slightly stronger and trick them into building houses.

What really got me going after I thought of this… is the uses in preparing places like Mars for humans. We are going to probably send insects to mars before us to do some useful work, if only to manage dead plant matter… why not have them also build our infrastructure? Or at least the basic groundwork.”

Which put me in mind of old colleague and friend Magnus Larsson‘s 6,000km-long wall of artificially solidified sandstone. In ‘DUNE: Arenaceous Anti-Desertification Architecture’ he envisioned this created by bacteria and spanning the Sahara Desert, east to west, offering a combination of refugee housing and a “green wall” against the future spread of the desert.

3210208339_c9d31e2517_b

Posted in All

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s