Lewis Curtis sent an interesting link to an article about energy efficient web servers derived from how bee's communicate. It's great to see people discovering the road to efficiency is based on closed loop feedback systems.
An intricate honeybee dance has generated a big buzz among scientists by serving as the model for an Internet server system that adapts in response to changing user demand.
Tovey said his collaboration with Seeley demonstrated that the communication provides a “beautiful” feedback loop to prevent one flower patch from being abandoned while another is depleted. For a superior patch, more bees will shake it on the dance floor and recruit workers to join them. As the nectar level drops from all the hubbub, the bees take longer to fill up, delaying their repeat performances back at the hive. The drop-off in dance routines gives scouts returning from alternative sources a better chance to create their own dance fever and transfer worker allegiances. With the shifting allocations, the system continually equalizes itself and offers a steady stream of nectar.
“We imitated that aspect of what honeybees do, and we’re trying that out on the Web center’s hosting problem,” Tovey said. So far, the method has reduced energy prices by 15 percent to 20 percent, with only a slight dip in revenue. Oxford and Georgia Tech have taken out a provisional patent on the energy-saving application, though Tovey said his team is still refining the methodology.