Researchers Use Growing Mold To Determine Most Efficient Highway Routes

The Physarum polycephalum slime mold is a favorable tool for transport researchers and city planners.

Researchers and city planners have found that the Physarum polycephalum slime mold offers a promising lead to the optimization of mobility and transportation in densely populated cities and countries.

This single-celled organism finds food by sending out branches, and thins those that are less favorable in condition. As it grows and retracts, the creature can map out the most effective way of linking scattered sources of food. Researchers Andrew Adamatzky and Ramon Alonso-Sanz overlaid the mold on a map with food sources at important hubs, studying what an efficient transport network in America could look like.

Because this slime mold moves with a sluggish speed of approximately 1cm per hour, the video below has been sped up for simple viewing. See how the slime mold explodes in growth as it closes in on a food source.

Source: Flowing Data, Infosthetics

Images: Infosthetics