Lord of the Rings catches the buzz

As more people and devices use the Internet, scientists say new methods inspired by bees will be needed to keep it running.

The Internet could be a real buzz in the future.

As more people and devices use the Internet, scientists say new methods inspired by bees will be needed to keep it running. The technology is already being used in the New Zealand movie Lord of the Rings.

Michael Wang and Tatsuya Suda of the University of California believe the Web may break when billions of people come online with mobile phones, handheld computers and household appliances.

They say the Web needs self-organising systems inspired by biology to run it and have produced programmes called agents modelled on bees and ants.

These insects are stupid when alone, but put together they can intelligently run huge structures like nests and hives without any central control.

The “bees” see requests for information as being like food and ferry the content just like bees. They then “die” when users stop requesting information.

Belgian scientist Marco Dorigo is also looking at using small, stupid ant-like programmes to make the Internet run better.

Such methods are being used to recreate huge battle scenes in the Lord of the Rings.

The troops in the battle scenes are computer-generated orcs, elves, humans and dwarves. They have been programmed with a few rules that define their fighting style, who their enemies are and what to do when their foe has been killed.

Battle commences when the soldiers are set against each other and computer cameras record the action. www.lordoftherings.net has details.

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