Frog Mating Calls Inspire New Algorithms For Wireless Networks
July 17, 2012

Frog Mating Calls Inspire New Algorithms For Wireless Networks

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

Scientists inspired by the behavioralistic calls of male Japanese tree frogs have developed a new algorithm that assigns colors to network nodes -- a process that could have broad implications for the development of efficient wireless networks.

More particularly, the inspiration comes from the fact that these tree frogs have learnt not to use their calls at the same time so that the females can distinguish between them. The males use their calls to attract females, who can recognize where the call comes from and then locate the suitor. But when two frogs that are close to one another make their calls at the same time, the females can become confused and are unable to determine the location of the call. By desynchronizing their calls, the males ensure they are heard and found.

"Since there is no system of central control organizing this "desynchronization", the mechanism may be considered as an example of natural self-organization," explains Christian Blum, of Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and co-author of the research.

With the help of these tiny sophisticated amphibians, Blum and his colleagues are able to explain how network nodes are colored with the least possible number of colors without two consecutive nodes being the same color. The frog behavior provided the inspiration for “solving the so-called 'graph coloring problem' in an even and distributed way.”

This ℠distributed´ fashion works much like the frog´s desynchronized calls. The team said their end goal is to generate a valid solution that uses the least amount of colors in network nodes.

“This type of graph coloring is the formalization of a problem that arises in many areas of the real world, such as the optimization of modern wireless networks with no predetermined structure using techniques for reducing losses in information packages and energy efficiency improvement,” Blum explained.

Such a study falls under the field of “swarm intelligence,” a branch of artificial intelligence that aims to design intelligent systems with multiple agents, inspired by the behavior of animal societies such as ant colonies, bird flocks, and as in this case, shoals of frogs.