How Fruit Flies Could Improve Wireless Networking

A team of researchers in Israel and the US studied the role of "sensory organ precursors" in the development of the nervous system of fruit flies.  These organs act as local neural network 'leaders' to facilitate parallel processing.  They identified a novel algorithm that does not need to know in advance the degree of connectivity within the network and can develop Maximal Independent Sets (MIS) by exchanging one-bit messages. 

Deployment of wireless networks has a similar problem where certain nodes need to be identified as local 'leaders'.  Current algorithms achieve efficiency by needing to know the network structure in advance.  The fruit fly neural algorithm may be able to deal with a wider range of conditions.

A Biological Solution to a Fundamental Distributed Computing Problem

Science 14 January 2011:
Vol. 331 no. 6014 pp. 183-185
DOI: 10.1126/science.1193210

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