Thursday, April 26

Japanese researchers find slime smarter than supercomputers

Toshiyuki Nakagaki, professor of Future University Hakodate (source)
Japanese professors, among others, are hard at work researching, umm, slime. Toshiyuki Nakagaki (above) has found that slime molds in petri dishes (although brainless) are smarter than supercomputers in solving complex-systems problems. The single cell organisms will spread themselves far as possible to find food and then well form to the shortest route to the food possible.

Here, the slime mold (physarum polycephalum) works realtively quick. This video shows how all other "bad attempts" at solving the puzzle will quickly die out to leave only the shorts route.

Atsushi Tero, from Kyushu University, southern Japan, who conducted the research, believes that the intelligence skills possessed by slime mould networks could potentially be used in the future design of transport systems or electric transmission lines (source). "Computers are not so good at analysing the best routes that connect many base points because the volume of calculations becomes too large for them," he said.

In this video, researchers placed food at railway stations around Tokyo (not Bay of Tokyo at bottom middle). The fungus collaborates, spreading out to map many possible configurations and then dies out to highlight the shortest routes between cities and the most efficient overall system map.

So this technology is smarter than humans, and even supercomputers. But isn't the web of human knowledge a product of our technology? Isn't every man as smart as his ability to navigate the internet, or smartphone? In much the same way, now that we have and control this slime technology, isn't it part of our knowledge?


You should probably engage in some conversation.