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Computer Scientists Build Computer ­sing Swarms of Crabs

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 Soldier crab

Soldier crab

Credit: Wikipedia

Kobe University researchers have built a billiard ball computer using soldier crabs.

"We demonstrate that swarms of soldier crabs can implement logical gates when placed in a geometrically constrained environment," the researchers say.

The crabs display two distinct forms of behavior. When a crab is in the middle of the swarm, it follows its neighbors around. However, if it is on the edge of the swarm, it aggressively leads the swarm. When placed next to a wall, a leader will always follow the wall in a direction that can be controlled by shadowing the swarm from above to mimic to the presence of the predatory birds that eat the crabs. However, when two crabs collide, they merge and continue in one direction that is the sum of their velocities, according to the researchers. First the researchers simulated the behavior of a solider crab computer in special channel patterns. Then they built a soldier crab computer in the lab to test the idea with real crabs.

From Technology Review 
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