Slime mould could design Tokyo’s railway

tokyo slime mold

A single-celled slime mould mindlessly foraging for food can create a network as efficient as the Tokyo rail system, researchers say.

A team of Japanese and British researchers say the behaviour of the amoeba-like mould could lead to better design of computer or communication networks.

The slime mould Physarum polycephalum grows to connect itself to food sources as part of its normal behaviour.

The mould “can find the shortest path through a maze or connect different arrays of food sources in an efficient manner,” wrote Atsushi Tero of Hokkaido University and his colleagues in this week’s issue of Science.

The researchers noticed that the slime mould spreading to gather scattered food sources organizes itself into a gelatinous network that interconnects the sources and looks somewhat like a railway system.

CBC: Slime mould mimics Tokyo’s railway

(via Social Physicist)

Yeesh, how do you think public transit planners feel right about now? “A single celled slime mould could do a better job than you!”

See also: Conway’s Game of Life Generates City.

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