Mira Radeva: Studying House-Hunting in the Temnothorax Ant Using Distributed Computing Theory

Friday, November 14, 2014 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Mira Radeva

We propose using tools from distributed computing to understand the behavior of the Temnothorax ant colonies when relocating to a new nest. We attempt to model the house-hunting process of the ants and study upper and lower bounds for different algorithmic metrics in this model. Given extensive experimental data about the house-hunting process from the biology community, we can evaluate whether (1) the ants' behavior matches our solutions and/or the optimal solutions, or (2) there are hidden costs and uncertainties that were not addressed by our model and solutions. In either case, we gain understanding in the house-hunting process and hopefully develop mathematically-sound arguments to explain specific aspects of the ant behavior.