Fruit flies could hold key to future internet

March 25, 2011 | Source: Internet Evolution

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed an algorithm for determining optimal communications paths in digital environments such as multiprocessor arrays by studying fruit flies, says Dr. Ziv Bar-Joseph.

Network applications rely on organizing nodes to determine routing and how to control processors. One method uses a Maximal Independent Set (MIS), a technique that identifies a subset of computers that together connect to every other node in the network and provide structure.

Selecting an MIS requires knowing how many neighbors each network node has. Fruit flies solve this problem — the sensory-nerve cells of fruit flies, specifically cell-fate determination, organize cells into an efficient parallel-processing sensor array.

The researchers developed an algorithm that, when activated on site, establishes a network hierarchy — similar to the nerve cells of fruit flies.  Their fruit-fly-derived algorithm is more efficient than any known method, and could become the method of choice for sensor-network applications, says Bar-Joseph.