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Monday, November 19, 2007

Faster Internet? Learn from Honeybees

WASHINGTON: Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a honeybee dance-inspired communications system, which they claim helps Internet servers work more efficiently. The new system reduces the possibility of a web site’s becoming overwhelmed with requests and locking out potential users and customers.

In tests based on real internet traffic, the honeybee method has been found to improve service by 4-25%. Craig Tovey, a professor in the H Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, said that he studied the efficiency of honeybees and discussed it with Sunil Nakrani, a computer science colleague visiting from the University of Oxford. The researchers’ discussions led them to conclude that bees and internet servers had strikingly similar barriers to efficiency.

Tovey and Nakrani developed a virtual “dance floor” for a network of servers in order to deal with the overloading of servers. When one server receives a user request for a certain web site, an internal advertisement (standing in a little less colourfully for the dance) is placed on the dance floor to attract any available servers.

The advertisement’s duration depends on the demand on the site and how much revenue its users may generate. The longer an commercial remains on the dance floor, the more power is devoted to serving the web site requests advertised by the available servers.
Bioinspiration and Biomimetics
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