Honeybees inspire faster Internet server technology

Honeybee intelligence can be used to improve the speed and efficiency of Internet servers by up to 25% according to Georgia Institute of Technology  researchers.Honeybees somehow manage to efficiently collect a lot of nectar with limited resources and no central command. Such swarm intelligence of these amazingly organized bees can also be used to improve the efficiency of Internet servers faced with similar challenges, researchers said. A bee dance-inspired communications system developed by Georgia Tech helps Internet servers that would normally be devoted solely to one task move between tasks as needed, reducing the chances that a Web site could be overwhelmed with requests and lock out potential users and customers. Compared with the way server banks are commonly run, the honeybee method typically improves service by 4 to 25% in tests based on real Internet traffic, researchers said. Internet servers typically have a set number of servers devoted to a certain Web site or client. When users access a Web site, the servers provide computing power until all the requests to access and use the site have been fulfilled. Sometimes there are a lot of requests to access a site -- for instance, a clothing company’s retail site after a particularly effective television ad during a popular sporting event -- and sometimes there are very few. Predicting demand for Web sites, including whether a user will access a video clip or initiate a purchase, is extremely difficult in a fickle Internet landscape, and servers are frequently overloaded and later become completely inactive at random.Bees tackle their resource allocation problem (i.e. a limited number of bees and unpredictable demand on their time and desired location) with a seamless system driven by “dances.” Here’s how it works: The scout bees leave the hive in search of nectar. Once they’ve found a promising spot, they return to the hive “dance floor” and perform a dance. The direction of the dance tells the waiting forager bees which direction to fly, the number of waggle turns conveys the distance to the flower patch; and the length conveys the sweetness of the nectar.The  bee/Internet  research was published in the Bioinspiration and Biomimetics journal.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)