Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fruit flies and computer algorithms

Scientists have unravelled virtually the entire genetic code of the fruit fly. Salk and University of California San Diego scientists have discovered that the fruit fly brain has an elegant and efficient method of performing similarity searches. For flies, when they encounter an odor, it needs to determine whether to approach it or avoid it, based on similar odors it encountered before. For example, fruit flies would approach apples and oranges but not approach the smell of poison. This relates to Computers because computers process images, assign it a tag and then put it in a bucket. Similar images are grouped together. When given an image, the algorithm only needs to search in its bucket to find the most similar images. Fruit flies find things based on similarities too. Insteading of funneling a few odors tags into a few buckets, flies spread tags across many more buckets. This lets them group similar and dissimilar odors more easily so they don't get confused about how to react. These new details on the fly's computational approach to smelly similarity searches could inform computer algorithms of the future.

This article was every interesting because of the labs we did throughout this course. We learned that fruit flies and humans share about 60% of genes. It is interesting to know how fruit flies are about to help inform computer algorithms of the future by their interactions with odor. I thought about the fruit flies from the medium in lab and if they had released a distinct smell that attracted the females to them or simply pushed them away.

No comments:

Post a Comment