The Blob

UPDATED: Monday, January 2, 2012 11:13
VIEWED: 2697
PAGE 1 of 1

Friday, December 30, 2011 2:15 PM


John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed wooHOO!!!!!!

Slime that can 'think' its way through a maze could turn our idea of intelligence upside down

Mould works as 'network' to find food and avoid danger
Can out-navigate many computers
Could be key to understanding human intelligence
Researchers working on mould-based 'bio computers'

Amoeboid yellow slime mould might seem an unlikely candidate to become the basis of future 'bio computers', but scientists in Japan say that the mould shows unlikely signs of intelligence.

Colonies of the mould appear to be able to 'organise' themselves so that they take the most direct route through a maze to find food, while at the same time avoiding damage from light.

The mould even appears to be able to 'remember' dangers and avoid them.

The long-lived organism - it's been around for hundreds of millions of years - appears to have evolved to deal with dangerous environments.

It's a task that would be beyond the capability of many advanced computers and software packages - and a level of 'information processing' that most of us wouldn't believe a single-celled organism would be capable of.

Toshiyuki Nakagaki, of Future University Hakodate told AFP, 'Simple creatures can solve certain kinds of difficult puzzles. If you want to spotlight the essence of intelligence, it's easier to use these simple creatures.'

The slime moulds are not intelligent as we understand it, but by flexibly responding to stresses such as light, and adapting, they are able to solve navigation problems that would baffle computers.

The mould cells appear to operate as a 'network' that can even remember when they experienced stresses and dangers, and adapt.

These primitive networks could be the key to building a new generation of biological computers, say researchers.

A slime mould moving along a fallen cylon: The 100-million-year-old creatures can work like a 'network' to navigate towards food and away from obstacles, say researchers

Nakagaki has already demonstrated that the moulds can 'design' a railway network similar to Tokyo's by using this primitive navigation system - research which won him the Ig Nobel prize in 2010.

The Ig Nobels are a spoof prize given out for 'improbable research' - intended to honour, 'achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.'

The mould's navigation abilities allowed it to imitate a task that took many human experts to achieve.

Other researchers now agree that understanding how these primitive organisms navigate could be the 'key' to understanding human intelligence.

Now other Japanese researchers aim to build on Nakagaki's research - and create computer algorithms that simulate the primitive navigation used by the moulds.

'Ultimately, I'm interested in creating a bio-computer by using actual slime molds, whose information-processing system will be quite close to that of the human brain,' said Masahi Aono of Riken, a science research institute in Saitama.

By using this mechanism as the basis, it could lead to an entirely new kind of computing.


Friday, December 30, 2011 4:50 PM


We had a lovely slime mold lounging around in a big glass baking dish under a heater-lamp in one of the Botany labs at UC Santa B. when I was there. I grew quite fond of it, and wondered if it ever got bored. Now I realize I should have asked to put in an obstacle course or something.
This proposal would probably have received an automatic turn-down, as I was supposed to be doing algae and fungi, but it might have given someone an idea.



Monday, January 2, 2012 11:05 AM


Beir bua agus beannacht

It creeps, and leaps, and slides and glides across the floor, right to the door and all around the wall, a splotch, a blotch, be careful of the blob, beware of the blob it creeps, and leaps ...

That's kind of creepy. Bizarre

"A completely coherant River means writers don't deliver" KatTaya


Monday, January 2, 2012 11:13 AM


One of my favorite tunes! TQVM!!







XV Anniversary of Firefly
Sat, December 22, 2018 14:06 - 22 posts
The Century Mark
Wed, August 22, 2018 00:38 - 1 posts
Anybody play Borderlands 2?
Thu, August 16, 2018 02:30 - 2 posts
Badass Infinity Wars Article
Mon, July 30, 2018 00:18 - 4 posts
emoticon sillies
Sat, May 26, 2018 00:40 - 73 posts
10 Years of DVDs
Sat, March 31, 2018 01:19 - 6 posts
Actors discussing the characters they portray.
Sat, March 10, 2018 10:06 - 4 posts
Roman Polanski
Wed, February 28, 2018 20:05 - 7 posts
Purgatory and its mathematical relation to the event horizon
Sun, January 28, 2018 16:28 - 22 posts
Ghosts exist, yes or no? On the fence?
Tue, January 23, 2018 17:41 - 77 posts
Young actors with promise...
Thu, January 4, 2018 14:45 - 26 posts
What Song Are You Listening To, California Dreamin'
Tue, January 2, 2018 18:12 - 141 posts