Scientists use the swarming behavior of soldier crabs to design new computers.
(Phys.org) -- A team of scientists from Japan and England have hit the high mark in exploring and testing unconventional forms of computation. They have built and tested a computer using crabs. This is a computer in which the information carriers are swarming creatures, namely, soldier crabs. In their paper, “Robust Soldier Crab Ball Gate,” authors Yukio-Pegio Gunji, Yuta Nishiyama, and Andrew Adamatzky describe what others are already referring to as the crab-puter.
The scientists were interested to see if they could adapt a previous model of unconventional computing, based on colliding billiard balls, to work with swarms of crabs.
“To expand the family of unconventional spatially extended computers, we studied the swarming behavior of soldier crabs Mictyris guinotae and found that compact propagating groups of crabs emerge and endure under noisy external stimulation. We speculated that swarms can behave similarly to billiard balls and thus implement basic circuits of collision-based computing,” they stated.
The researchers found that when two swarms of crabs collide, they merge and continue in a direction that is the sum of their velocities. Their reference to billiard balls is noteworthy, in that computer scientists E. Fredken and T. Toffoli in the 1980s -- explorations of unconventional forms of computing have been going on for some time -- set out to see if a computer built with billiard balls could work.
In an article explaining the earlier billiard-ball concept, Technology Review said, “The idea is that a channel would carry information encoded in the form of the presence or absence of billiard balls. This information is processed through gates in which the billiard balls either collide and emerge in a direction that is the result of the ballistics of the collision, or don’t collide and emerge with the same velocities.” Keep on reading...