Re: [unrev-II] A truly interesting discussion at

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Thu Nov 16 2000 - 12:58:44 PST

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Re: Tuesday's meeting"

    RE: Related DARPA research projects on "Biologically Inspired Systems" like 1)
    AgentOS (a mobile Agent System for Ubiquitous Compuing), 2) how Ultra-wideband
    (UWB) micro-RF/Radar tags are used for studying Bee Hive behavior, and 3) Small
    Worlds book review.

    1) The Bio-Networking Architecture that the PI proposes is inspired by the
    observation that the biological world has already developed the mechanisms
    necessary to achieve the key requirements for the Next Generation Internet
    (NGI), such as scalability, adaptability to heterogeneous and dynamic
    conditions, security, survivability, and simplicity. In the biological world,
    each individual entity (e.g., a bee in a bee colony) follows a simple set of
    behavior rules (e.g., migration, reproduction, energy exchange, mutation, and
    death), yet a group of entities (e.g. a bee colony) exhibits complex, emergent
    behavior (e.g., adaptation, evolution, security, survivability). Therefore, if
    services and applications adopt biological concepts and mechanisms, they too may

    be able to achieve the key requirements of NGI.

    In this project, the PI explores an innovative idea of applying key concepts and
    mechanisms from the biological world onto network application designs to enable
    construction of large scale network applications.

    2) Also, here's a brief overview of the "Bio-Networking Architecture" at the
    Gigabit Networks Workshop held in conjunction with Infocom99 in New York on
    March 21, 1999, including how Ultra-wideband (UWB) micro-RF/Radar tags are used
    for studying Bee Hive behavior, etc.

    3) Book Review
    Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness
    (Duncan J. Watts)

    Everyone knows the small-world phenomenon: soon after meeting a stranger, we are
    surprised to discover that we have a mutual friend, or we are connected through
    a short chain of acquaintances. In his book, Duncan Watts uses this intriguing
    phenomenon--colloquially called "six degrees of separation"--as a prelude to a
    more general exploration: under what conditions can a small world arise in any
    kind of network?

    The networks of this story are everywhere: the brain is a network of neurons;
    organisations are people networks; the global economy is a network of national
    economies, which are networks of markets, which are in turn networks of
    interacting producers and consumers. Food webs, ecosystems, and the Internet can
    all be represented as networks, as can strategies for solving a problem, topics
    in a conversation, and even words in a language. Many of these networks, the
    author claims, will turn out to be small worlds.

    How do such networks matter? Simply put, local actions can have global
    consequences, and the relationship between local and global dynamics depends
    critically on the network's structure. Watts illustrates the subtleties of this
    relationship using a variety of simple models---the spread of infectious disease
    through a structured population; the evolution of cooperation in game theory;
    the computational capacity of cellular automata; and the sychronisation of
    coupled phase-oscillators.

    Watts's novel approach is relevant to many problems that deal with network
    connectivity and complex systems' behaviour in general: How do diseases (or
    rumours) spread through social networks? How does cooperation evolve in large
    groups? How do cascading failures propagate through large power grids, or
    financial systems? What is the most efficient architecture for an organisation,
    or for a communications network? This fascinating exploration will be fruitful
    in a remarkable variety of fields, including physics and mathematics, as well as
    sociology, economics, and biology.

    Duncan J. Watts, who received his Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics
    from Cornell University in 1997, is a postdoctoral Fellow at the Santa Fe

    Jack Park wrote:

    > <>
    > a quote:
    > "The failure modes of practical software are quite different from what is
    > seen in chemical/biological systems. When a computer crashes (and I mean a
    > real computer, not a thought experiment in a math journal), nothing else
    > happens. The is no more processing. When an organism crashes, it turns into
    > food for other organisms. Its information is not entirely lost from the
    > system. I recognize that this point will probably fall on deaf ears to
    > respondents who think of computers as already being autonomous and
    > biological in some sense. I think a careful examination of computers as they
    > are in the real world will show that all the "biological" properties of
    > digital technology are brought to the table by the people who maintain the
    > technology. "
    > This is the second part of two parts following a half a manifesto by Jeron
    > Lanier.
    > ============================================================================
    > This message is intended only for the use of the Addressee(s) and may
    > contain information that is PRIVILEGED and CONFIDENTIAL. If you are not
    > the intended recipient, dissemination of this communication is prohibited.
    > If you have received this communication in error, please erase all copies
    > of the message and its attachments and notify
    > immediately.
    > ============================================================================
    > Community email addresses:
    > Post message:
    > Subscribe:
    > Unsubscribe:
    > List owner:
    > Shortcut URL to this page:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Nov 16 2000 - 13:08:22 PST