Tue, 24/01/2017 - 14:15
Campus SB, E2 6, E.04

Amos Korman
Host: Jun.Prof Franziska Lautenschl√§ger
IRIF, Paris Diderot University

Crazy ants are not so crazy

I will talk about my recent adventures with ants. Together with biologists we study P. longiconis "crazy" ants as they collaboratively transport a large food item to their nest. This collective navigation process is guided by pheromones which are laid by individual ants. Using a new methodology to detect scent marks, we identify a new kind of ant trail characterized by very short and dynamic pheromone markings and highly stochastic navigation response to them. We argue that such a trail can be highly beneficial in conditions in which knowledge of individual ants regarding the underlying topological structure is unreliable. This gives rise to a new theoretical search model under unreliable guiding instructions, which is of independent computational interest. To illustrate the model, imagine driving a car in an unknown country that is in the aftermath of a major hurricane which has randomly flipped a certain small fraction of the road-signs. Under such conditions of unreliability, how can you still reach your destination fast?

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