HP Labs Technical Reports
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Ant-based Load Balancing in Telecommunications Networks
Schoonderwoerd, Ruud; Holland, Owen; Bruten, Janet; Rothkrantz, Leon
Keyword(s): artificial life; telecoms routing; emergent collective behaviour; stigmergy
Abstract: This paper describes a novel method of achieving load balancing in telecommunications networks. A simulated network models a typical distribution of calls between nodes; nodes carrying an excess of traffic can become congested, causing calls to be lost. In addition to calls, the network also supports a population of simple mobile agents with behaviours modelled on the trail laying abilities of ants. The ants move across the network between randomly chosen pairs of nodes; as they move they deposit simulated pheromones as a function of their distance from their source node, and the congestion encountered on their journey. They select their path at each intermediate node according to the distribution of simulated pheromones at each node. Calls between nodes are routed as a function of the pheromone distributions at each intermediate node. The performance of the network is measured by the proportion of calls which are lost. The results of using the ant-based control (ABC) are compared with those achieved by using fixed shortest-path routes, and also by using an alternative algorithmically-based type of mobile agent previously proposed for use in network management. The ABC system is shown to result in fewer call failures than the other methods, while exhibiting many attractive features of distributed control.
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