Vincent Darley, a research scientist with BiosGroup (Santa Fe, NM) who also studies ants, says that "swarm intelligence" of ants makes sense for scheduling problems in manufacturing settings. Ants lay down a chemical called pheromone, creating a trail between food sources and their nests. The trails become the system of routing for the ants. Darley uses small pieces of software that travel through a network and deposit an artificial pheromone as they seek optimal routes through networks. Because the Internet uses packet switchingóbreaking down of e-mails and other data into small bundles taking different routes before reassembling at their destinationóbetter routing is necessary, according to Darley. His approach relies on virtual ants that wander large databases, pick up pieces of information, and deposit them according to various criteria that he sets up. The result is a cluster of clients with common attributesósimilar to the way ants collect seeds for their pantries. For more information, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call (505) 992-6700, or send snail mail to: BiosGroup, 317 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.