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The Intelligent Ant and Data Sciences

Sagacity of ant colony optimization algorithm (ACO) could be well judged from its life-stories

God’s intelligent ant society is a well-organized and hierarchical structure with specific roles and codified behavior. The society members carry out the various tasks of the colony includes foraging, nest maintenance, larvae care, defense, etc.

The idea of macro-engineering in Data sciences started from the observation of the foraging ant behavior: when an ant leaves the nest in search of food, she would lay down a pheromone trail that the other ants are able to follow; if she reaches some food, she will return to the nest — using the same path — leaving even more pheromone on her way back. If she does not find any food, she will not lay down any pheromone on the way back to the nest and the previous trial will evaporate away.

In the case that other foraging ants would chase upon those trails, most of them will follow the trails and find the food adding their pheromone to the path.

Another group will not find any trace or decide to follow other paths and other ants will diverge before reaching the end of the trail.

If we apply this kind of behavior on a large colony, we would see that strong pheromone trails emerge linking the nest to the food sources.

This indirect communication mechanism based on pheromone is at the basis of the knowledge sharing within the colony and allows the ants to find better paths towards food.

Applications and Results

Now that, what Ant Colony optimization is, what do we get out of it?

  • Routing problems
  • Assignment and Scheduling problems
  • Classification Rules
  • Protein Folding
  • DNA sequencing
  • Bayesian Network

Its wide potential application is derived from the flexibility of the whole method to introduce, alongside the pheromone mechanism, a specific problem knowledge in the pheromone distribution and in the evaluation phase.

The ACO metaheuristic represents nowadays its ability to discover rapidly good solutions; this advantage is counterbalanced sometimes by its premature convergence and solid approach to a multiplicity of problems; it exists in a variety of flavors with simple or very complex formalizations.

Have a story

An ant invited King Solomon and his army to a feast. King Solomon, who was a great king and an exalted prophet of God, army besides men included jinns, quadrupeds, beasts, and birds. He enjoyed all the authority and control over the season and winds. He picked up the ant and placing it on his palm, asked; “Tell me; whose kingdom is vast, yours or mine?” The ant replied, “Only God knows whose kingdom is great but I know it well that at his moment, the palm of King Solomon is my throne.”

King Solomon was the youngest son of David, he succeeded his father in 965 BC and ruled for about forty years. God had bestowed upon him the ability to understand the languages of animals. Once he was proceeding on a venture with a grand convoy of men, jinns, and animals. Despite the large strength of the army nobody could dare to be undisciplined in order or ranks. All were marching in their respective columns and troops in obedience to their great marshal; King Solomon. When they reached a valley, occupied and inhabited by ants. The ruler of ants, seeing the multitude of an army advancing towards their valley told his subjects, “Enter your holes, what do Solomon and his army know of our presence in the valley, least we are trodden down under the feet of his army, in ignorance on their part”.

This event has been stated by God in the following manner. “And We gave Knowledge to David and Solomon and they both said,” Praise be to God, Who has favored us above many of His servants who believe; “And Solomon was David’s heir. He said,” O, ye people; “We have been taught the speech of birds and on us has been bestowed all things: this is indeed Grace Manifested”. And before Solomon marshaled an army of jinns and men and birds and they were all kept in order and ranks. At length, when they came to a lowly valley of ants, one of the ants said, “0, ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his army crush you under their feet without knowing it.” So, he Solomon, smiled amused at his speech and he said, “O, my Lord; so, order me for Thy favors, which Thou haste bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee and admit me, by Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy Righteous Servants.” (S;27: V;15-19)

Ants Social set-up

Tiny creatures like ants have their own specific social set-up, all the systems of human life are duly present in this tiny insect’s Life. A colony of ants comprises thousands of members of different and various forms, shapes, and colors. There is a queen for each colony. Every member of the colony obeys her orders. In a colony of ants, there are artisans, engineers, horticulturists, etc. The military organization is also there. They are dutiful and sacrificing. Everyone performs their duties efficiently. There are both male and female ants but reproduction is carried out only by the queen. If the queen dies accidentally, a new queen is not appointed like bees, but they merge into some other colony of ants.

The colony of ants offers a very fine and typical example of division of work. The work is divided amongst various types of ants and everyone performs their duty to the best of their ability. Workers supply food and look after the members of a new generation. Laborers handle the goods. Males participate in reproduction and when the queen is impregnated, they are no longer required and gradually annihilate.

Queen’s body enlarges when the time for laying eggs approaches. Attendants and workers become more caretaking. A new community of ants emerges from the eggs laid by the queen. Twenty to thirty eggs are laid in a week’s time, which are detached from the body of the queen by the workers and are safely kept for incubation. Larvae hatch out in a few days from the eggs and gradually develop themselves into adult ants. About half a dozen eggs are looked after with special attention, as they would be new queens. After the birth of new queens, the whole community is divided into six or seven parts, each part headed by its respective queen. Workers of each queen excel in service and obedience to their queen. How does this tiny insect work so organize with mutual co-operation? This sense of organization and the mutual co-consequential of operation is inspired by Nature. This disciplined organization is indeed consequential sensibility and intelligence.

Honey Ant

One type of ant is the Honey ant which stores the fruit juice in its stomach and clings to something in an upside-down posture. Queen and other ants lick its body till the honey in their body is exhausted.

Horticulturist Ants

Another type of ant is horticulturist, these ants cultivate the orchards of fungus, in the galleries and cells of their habitations. ‘These orchards are nurtured artfully. These are the orchards of fruits for the ants and they provide food for all the members of the community.

The Laborer Ants

These ants collect grains and store them in cells for consumption at the hour of need. These ants are so duty conscious that they carry loads ten times larger than their body weight.

The Engineer Ants

These ants perform excellent and skilled pieces of work. They build a large hall in the center, which is used as the royal place and is connected through galleries, all sides. It is kept very clean and tidy as it is the queen’s lodge. Workers and laborers both remain busy performing various services to the queen. There are cells in the galleries either to store food or for the residence of workers and laborers. The castle built by them is strong enough to stand against weather, water, and heat.

The Tailor Ants

There are ants who are expert tailors. They sew leaves for the protection of the newly hatched leaves from the preying birds. These ants are so expert in stitching that anything they sew appears to be tailored by some expert tailor.

The Soldier Ants

There are ants that could be termed soldier ants. They are mostly nomadic, they live like soldiers in camps, in jungles. These ants travel in convoys. Their queen remains in the center of its attendants. The convoy remains mobile during the daytime. Any insect obstructing them is killed by the guards. At night they assemble on a tree and arrange themselves in a pillar-like formation. The way they assemble, for the overnight stay, is quite interesting. The queen. and her attendants stay in the center surrounded by the workers and the soldiers. The gallery-like passage is left in their formation for ventilation as if they know the scientific principles of respiration. In the morning with the rise of the sun, after their overnight stay, a contingent of dozen or so start their journey others following them begin to move and the convoy once again sets off on its journey.

Ants Free of Time and Space

There is a special type of ants that have the extraordinary ability to dissolve themselves in the air, eliminating the distances involved, reaching another place in no time. As a result of many experiments conducted, on these ants’ scientists have now proved that these ants can dissolve themselves in the air.

Way of Social Thinking

Compositional data of archaeological classes offer an opportunity to trace the movement of materials in the ancient and medieval world. The lack of a comprehensive record of well-dated information has limited the systematic thinking of a chronological and geographical model.

You are welcomed to imagine the thick green forest where sunlight had a difficulty in penetration. Towering trees with large green foliage that is nourished by the wet, humid conditions of pre-monsoons. The dense, tropical moist jungle where it’s all green, neon to light to dark and yellow-tinted ones too.  The forest floor is often a combination of soggy leaves and debris. Mosquitoes galore, spider webs crisscrossing, added to the canopies and leaves these trees themselves are a forest themselves, covered with a dense tangle of living organisms and other small plants. The upper branches often collect soil, dirt, and other decaying matter. The fallen leaves, decaying organic matter, dust collect in the crevices and holes of the tree trunks. These little pockets become habitable for seeds blown away by winds or deposited by birds and bats and germinate to grow into epiphytic plants. Such weak plants grow aerial roots, devoid of any chlorophyll, and generally take in their nutrients and water from the moisture in the air, rain, or decaying matter accumulating around it. The host plant remains as a foundation to provide protection and a better position in order to get more sunlight. Not typically parasitic, these epiphytes do not harm the host plant.

Mixed emotions swept across to such a beautiful act of “Being Human”. No, it was an act of “Being Ant”. They were all smart, intelligent, responsible ants, each with a huge and heart. The bond that binds them into the most intelligent social group brought them success. After all, a group that works together wins together. Success comes to those who let go of their egos and extends their helping hands to those in need.

However, more than the teamwork, it’s the sharp and brain that needs a special mention and appreciation. How would these little creatures know that increasing weight at the bottom of the floating root would enable it to bend and help them build a strong bridge again?

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