Natures wonders: ant foraging mimics TCP (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, May 06, 2016, 13:11 (801 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In computers there is software called transmission control protocol which is the same as the way ants control foraging rates:

http://priceonomics.com/the-independent-discovery-of-tcpip-by-ants/

QUOTES: "Whenever another forager ant returns with food, it drops off its load and touches antennae with waiting ants. Whether or not any individual forager sallies forth depends on the number of interactions it has with returning foragers and the timing of those interactions. So a complex collective behavior is governed solely through simple individual interactions."

"Gordon's most recent research suggests that at least certain aspects of foraging technique—a collective behavior—are heritable. This not only means that complex algorithms like these might have developed through natural selection, but that these inhuman engineers could be developing new ones, right now."

David's comment: It requires the collective cooperation of the whole foraging group of the colony. It raises the thought that it involves responding to the rates of return against time. Note the individual is thought to be just a cog in the machinery.

Yes, it requires the collective cooperation of the whole group to make any society, institution or team run smoothly. I'm fascinated by the idea that the “inhuman engineers” could be developing new algorithms right now. And it seems to me perfectly possible that they developed the original algorithms as well. Or did/does God have to put every algorithm into their heads? I'm also fascinated by the analogy we can draw between the cooperation of individual ants to create a working system and the cooperation of individual cells to do the same thing. But perhaps it's just my fertile imagination detecting a cohesive evolutionary line from cooperating cells to cooperating organisms to cooperating societies.


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