January 18, 2010

An IgNobel prize contender?

Fuligo septicaHere is a lovely little paper titled [0912.3967] Road planning with slime mould: If Physarum built motorways it would route M6/M74 through Newcastle. The authors use slime moulds to find optimal road networks:

We consider the ten most populated urban areas in United Kingdom and study what would be an optimal layout of transport links between these urban areas from the "plasmodium's point of view". We represent geographical locations of urban areas by oat flakes, inoculate the plasmodium in Greater London area and analyse the plasmodium's foraging behaviour.

They found that the slime mould was pretty accurate in predicting the real motorway network, with the exception of the M6/M74.

Mould intelligence is not that stupid as a concept. We might not want to use real slime moulds to solve optimization, but the distributed particle model seems to have some promise.

Posted by Anders3 at January 18, 2010 07:11 PM