May 302011

We all know that Ants are cleaners of environments.

Wherever they go, they eat away the dead and the decaying. In this way they are very useful for nature. In computers too we have malwares and programs which hinders in our important files, corrupting them. To solve this virus problem, we have various antivirus products. However in case of complicated networks, and electrical grid circuits such viruses are a big nuisance and are very difficult to deal with. Keeping the same concept in mind Prof. Errin Fulp, Dept of Computer science, Wake Forest University is trying to experiment with a concept called digital ants to tackle the virus menace.

Prof. Fulp along with his two students Michael Crouse and Jacob White are working this summer on this Swarming intelligence project collaborating with scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. PNNL/Battelle Memorial Institute has given a grant of $2.5 million, to Prof. Errin Fulp and his team to continue and make a concrete research in this field. The project is so much promising that Scientific American magazine has termed it as “One of the ten technologies that have the power to change our lives”.

The concept is to create and train an army of “Digital Ants” which would constantly move through the network constantly detecting the threat on system due to cyber attack. These Digital Ants would also leave a trail i.e.; a scent much similar to the normal Ants. This would help the other ants to trace path by their predecessors. In case a threat is detected in any path of system the digital Ants are programmed to give away a strong smell which would gather more such Ants. The swarm would then clear the power grid infection. Prof. Fulp is trying to build many such Ants. Once the network has thousands of such Digital ants, a colony of them will be useful in protection against faulty programs thereby securing the whole system.

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