Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Digital ants are here, tending SCADA

 Errin Fulp, a professor of computer science at Wake Forest University, is training an army of "digital ants" to turn loose into the Grid to seek out computer viruses trying to wreak havoc on the system. This according to a recent article in NewsWise, which notes: that "As the nation's electrical power grid becomes more interconnected through the Internet the chances of cyber attacks increase as well..
Dr. Fulp's digital ants "could have wide-ranging applications",  Newwise writes, "on protecting anything connected to SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) networks, computer systems that control everything from water and sewer management systems to mass transit systems to manufacturing systems."   Image courtesy SCforum.info


JoshM said...

You know, I think variations on ant swarms are underused in sci-fi. Years ago I saw something on TV about a type of ant in the rainforests somewhere that would band together and move around the forests in a huge creepy ball of clustered ants, just chewing to pieces anything and everything in their path. From that I had the idea of a space-opera whose main adversary was a sort of robotic hive-mind cluster, roaming through space salvaging whatever technology they came across and leaving the irrelevant biological "parasites" (i.e. the crew) behind.

Then Star Trek introduced the Borg, and my idea suddenly seemed too derivative. Oh well.

Beam Me Up said...

A lot of people have had a hand in that genre though, don't give up. Card did it with two if his characters in the Ender series, Firefly had their Reavers, BSG's Cylons, Ori in SG-1 and the list goes on...I think this could in truth be a sub genre in science fiction. Run with it.

JoshM said...

Oh, yeah, the idea still simmers somewhere in the back of my mind, wanting to find its way out. The other aspect of the story had to do with a very basic, relatively "low-tech" space travel (as compared to Star Trek, for example) where the crew are more constantly, more obviously at the mercy of the elements. So now, too, there's the matter of making it distinct enough from "Firefly", "Enterprise", and/or "BSG".

Beam Me Up said...

I hear ya, but just to let you know, I like the shoestring and a prayer story concept as long as its not corny. Keep at it.

John said...

... Sorry for going here, but... Anyone else thinking about "ants in your pants"... You know, the "electronic kind"????

Guess that'd bring about a whole new meaning of the phrase aye??? hehe