Early civilizations in the Fertile Crescent of Middle East or in China about 9000 BC? Or maybe ancient people in Solomon Islands or in the Highlands of New Guinea?
Video: Coevolution of the ant and fungi
Watch also: Farming Ants Reveal Evolution Secrets
How about the domestication of animals? Which societies were the first breeders and shepherds?
Dogs (originally wolves) were tamed and enslaved about 12’000 years ago. Other herding animals like sheep and cattle were domesticated around 8000 BC. See history of animal domestication
So, these ancient people were the first animal breeders?
Video: Crazy Ant Farmers – Weird Nature – BBC animals
In fact, with their workers, soldiers, baby sitters, site builders, leaf-cutters and fungus nurses ants were among the first industrial societies. Whereas we humans have education and indoctrination for the definition of roles in the economic life, ants have their genetic imprinting. Both systems work perfectly!
Due to all these wonderful traits ant “ika” (a worker ant named ika or shortly “ant ika”) is the nickname we have chosen for the upcoming feature for our .net libraries finaquant protos and finaquant calcs, namely calculation node.
Our worker ant ika doesn’t live in forests, grasslands or deserts; it lives in the computers of our users.
We can summarize the advantages of ant ika as follows:
- Ant ika never complains or rebels; it works and toils tirelessly on the assigned duty for perfection.
- Ant ika is never bored of routine work; it never questions its job, or looks for a change.
- Ant ika can co-operate with other ants, and build highly efficient superorganisms (calculation networks in our case).
- Ant ika have many legs (in fact 3 pairs) that can symbolize arrows for input and output tables.
All these qualities make our worker ant ika an industrious individual of an industrial society. See this: Interesting facts about ants
What is a calculation node? (nickname: ant ika)
A calculation node encapsulates a high-level table function (also called node function) with a number of input and output parameters. Note that all these parameters are tables without an exception.
Once configured properly a calculation node fetches all the required inputs from the database, executes the assigned table function to generate output tables and writes them into the database.
Ant ika has the ability to calculate and store all the table valued parameters of multiple calculation instances. For example you may want to execute a table function for every month and country for calculating some price estimations.
No problem for ant ika! It fetches all the inputs from the databases you want, executes its table function and writes the results to the databases you want, together with the instance information month and country. Quite useful feature if you need periodic or multidimensional table calculations.
With the addition of calculation node as a new feature (presumably until May 2013) finaquant® protos will be more than a library with table functions; it will become a real calculation engine based on table functions.
The whole range of table functions in the library can be used to formulate high-level node functions.
What sort of analytical problems can be solved with calculation nodes?
Well, considering the holistic approach of finaquant libraries to numerical computation with its table valued parameters, the question must rather be asked the other way around: Which problems can’t be solved with calculation nodes?
Possible application areas include estimations and forecasts based on historical data, scenario analysis, simulations and optimizations, fee and commission calculations for provider-dealer networks, strategic financial planning, reporting and so on.
Calculation networks as superorganisms
As already mentioned above, calculation nodes (worker ants) can cooperate to build calculation networks.
The output of a node can be input for another node in a calculation network -which is a sort of function tree with table valued parameters.
Calculation networks will be a feature of our (upcoming) commercial product finaquant® calcs. This is a relatively complex feature that will probably be required for only advanced scenarios.
So much to calculation nodes and networks. If you want to know more about the secret life of ants1 I strongly recommend you to watch this documentary film:
ANTS – Nature’s Secret Power (Full)
Written by: Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu
References and recommended readings
- First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies
- The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race
- Secret life of ants: Phrase inspired by the masterful documentary film The Private Life of Plants presented by David Attenborough [↩]