Tag Archives: traffic planning

Hacking transport infrastructure with slime mold

The IG Nobel prize awards for 2010 have been announced and interviewed. Yet another round of qualitative science which may seem odd, pointless and/or simply bad at first. But the results should be as respected as with any study made – it is, after all, science!

The physics prize for 2010 was awarded to scientists in New Zealand who discovered that wearing socks outside of your shoes reduces the risk of slipping and falling on icy paths.

Transportation planning (there’s apparently a prize for that!) was awarded to UK and Japanese scientists for an actually very impressive feat. They showed that slime mold can design efficient traffic infrastructure. In this report the scientists used the very common Physarum polycephalum slime mold which back in 2000 was shown to discover shortest-path solutions – for which it was awarded the IG Nobel “Cognitive Science” award in 2008. It was merely a matter of time before someone did the same test, but just so happened to build a replica of Tokyo’s subway system.

Thank you, science!