How is the Safe Network inspired by ants?

I’ve heard all the time that it was inspired by ants. But are there exact constructs that David Irvine looked at in ant colonies that mimic those found in SAFE?

That’s it. That’s the thread.

Actually I was wondering: maybe: could it be that Irvine just knows a lot about code across the entire spectrum, and had the vision to create a multiprotocol network, and just had ants on his mind simultaneously with some vague/decent/perfect comparison?

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I think the idea is that small autonomous agents, by the means of the interactions between them, give rise to a larger organism that is surprisingly (though not perfectly) optimal. Also, the system can lose many individual agents without suffering a serious performance hit.

However, I’m not sure DHT based routing can be analogous to how ants find optimal paths (i.e. the many different paths toward a resource converge into an optimal path, which is different from any of the individual paths.) It would be fun to figure out how to do something like that.

On a completely unrelated note, this vid about elefants (suggested by the ants video) is pretty cool :smiley_cat:


Perhaps @dirvine will step in to give you more on this, but I know that he looks to nature as a teacher for how to design systems well (as do I).

I’m not sure exactly why he chose ants, and whether there are any other influences, but I believe he did go specially to see Dr Deborah Gordon - the person from the video @19eddyjohn75 posted.


All the best work is done the way that ants do things – by tiny but untiring and regular additions.



Yes spot on. Ants are good as we can all see them and for 150 million years they have created sophistication from apparent complexity, until you look deeply at how they work as Deborah and her team have. Then you see the simplicity in the apparent complexity and it all works brilliantly. No huge brain or IBM watson, just very simple rules where they follow them or die. Following them though is very simple and rewarding at every stage. So this mimics what vaults should do and how I believe the interconnection of us as a species should work.

Ants have enemies but not in their own colony, we have to cope with enemies in our colony (the greedy, unscrupulous etc.). So we use cryptography which does burden the system but is required when working with individuals who are not privy the the 150 million years of evolution the measly ant has :smiley: I Am sure we will learn but till then we need to be less efficient and include crypto etc. to protect us from ourselves. Never the less the ants show us the way to create long lasting successful networks and that is great. Also great they do not hear all the other species saying “that is impossible” they just do what they do and it works perfectly well. Simplicity is key and they have shows un the way. Easy to follow that learned and perfected knowledge then :wink:


Actually ants have enemies in their own colony. They can get infected by cordyceps spores and the colony must detect this and carry the infected one far away or the whole colony dies when the mushroom fruits and releases spores.

Very analogous to a node trying to abuse the network.