The little snail that could – Snails are faster than ADSL
"Never underestimate the bandwidth capacity of a snail on wheels"! - Yossi Vardi (more laws at the end…)
Novel new data transfer system was launched recently in a unique experiment being held in KinnerNet 2005 camp (an Israeli internet camp , modeled after Tim Oreilly's Foo camp). The experiment conceived and run by a group of Israeli Internet addicts, including Yossi Vardi (former ICQ chairman), Shimon Schocken (computer scientist) and Ami Ben Bassat (science writer).
The system called SNAP(SNAil-based data transfer Protocol(, uses biological carriers, and, for the first time, taking advantages of the unique merits of the wheel for data transfer.
Previous art: This experiment follows the pioneering experiment carried out in Bergen, Norway (1999). The experiment demonstrated the feasibility of the "IP over Avian Carriers" protocol – an RFC for delivering data using pigeons, formulated by David Waitzman's. This B2P (Back to Pigeons) line of research was significantly extended by Ami Ben-Bassat, Guy Vardi, and Yossi Vardi. In 2004, Ben-Bassat et al sent three homing pigeons to a 100 kilometer distance, each carrying 1.3 gigabits on tiny flash memory cards, yielding a transfer rate faster than ADSL.
Yet the Wi-Fly TCP (Transmission by Pigeons) protocol of wireless internet has had its limitations. First, pigeons cannot fly through Windows. Second, since they don't fly in darkness either, this method's bandwidth drops to zero 50% of the time. Finally, there's the problem of droppings (see the following). We are pleased to report that all these shortcomings were resolved in our new data transfer protocol, as we now turn to describe.
System architecture: the system is constructed of a back end - a carriage, Ben-Hur movie style, which is made of a yoke made of light Balsa, and outfitted with two huge wheels – 2 DVD wheels, 4.7 Giga each. The front end, to which the carriage is harnessed consist of a Giant snail (Achatina fulica), known also as Giant African Snail (Africans are known as the world fastest runners ). These giant snail are of the GastroPod family (G-pod. We will reserve this name for transfer of music, and the name: G-mail for transfer of emails by snails SMTP –snail mobile transfer protocol )
Packets transport: Data is transported in 2 packets in parallel, 4.7 Giga each packet.
photograph by Herbert Bishko
Results: Calculations that were conducted after the experiment, explicitly proved that in spite of the relatively, very slow, speed of the biological carriers, the Snap system succeeded in transferring data faster than any other conventional technologies, existing today. The following table, summarize the results:
Please note all measured times were recorded by an observer on the ground. If measured by the moving snail itself, times would have been a bit shorter, according to Einstein's relativity theory, resulting in slightly greater bps rates.
The wheel: Wheel justly considered as one of the most innovative and productive inventions ever. It appeared about 5,500 years ago, somewhere along the Mesopotamia region starting immediately to roll up our civilization toward new frontiers.
Caveat: The use of wheels in any commercial application may be a violation of intellectualal property law. In particular, Mr. John Keogh, Australian Patent Lawyer, was issued in 2001 a patent for "a circular transportation facilitation device", more commonly known as a wheel.
Motivation: Since the snail proper is committed neither scientifically nor professionally tothe advancement of data communications techniques, we had to contrive a way toentice it to get moving. After consulting the literature on utility theory andeconomic mechanism design, we proceeded to augment the platform with a uniqueincentive mechanism based on a fresh leaf of Sativa Lactusa also known as iceberg lettuce, hereafter referred to as(LGS- Lettuce-based Guidance Sub-system). In contrary to certain American presidents the snail was able to proceed and chew lettuce at the same time.
Routing: Since data transfer always takes place between two well-defined source and destination points, we had to contrive a way to restrict the system's movement to a pre-determined trajectory. This was done by placing the LGS in the center of the snail's sensory field – just in front of its tentacles — and dragging it gently along the shortest path between the data's source and destination terminals. This particular task was carried out by Yossi Hod, a member of our research team who is also a commercial pilot with a significant navigation experience.
Please note that while the lettuce router is based on "PULL" principle, there is a way to create a "PUSH" based router, by placing behind the snail, garlic and melted butter. This will insure the forward moving motivation of the snail. The sgarlic and the melted butter can be mounted on the carriage itself.
Denial of service: In some regions, most notably France, culinary habits may pose a denial-of-service (DOS) risk. In particular, French users will have to choose whether they want to be served data-ex-cargo or an escargot. On the other hand, a peculiar feature of SNAP is that DOS problems will never occur in DOS kosher-observant neighborhoods (this comment may be privy to Jewish readers only).
Advantages of the new Method:
Elegant solution- Maximum data transfer throughput per mass of infrastructure: As far as data transfer throughput per mass of infrastructure, the developers were able to improve significantly over last year pigeon technology. As in the case of Pigeon Based Internet, also in this case, the developers followed Buckminster Fuller's Ephemeralizaton notion – doing more with less. Numerous proposals have been made in the past to ship data by brute force e.g., by station wagon, Boing 747 etc, but the developers are not aware of any technological means to transfer the said amount of data to a given destination with less mass of infrastructure, and energy (1 snail-Power). Hence, as far as the developers of the new method are aware, the suggested method set a record also to that respect.
Latency: As in the case of pigeons, latency is much higher: no matter how little data will be transferred, it will take longer for the first bit to arrive. Nevertheless, for short distances of few hundreds km pigeons' latency is shorter than that of Netflix, Fedex, or the postal service.
Working at night: While pigeons are not flying at night, snails are active at those times as well.
Download on your head: In contrary to pigeons, (and some ISP providers), snails don’t shit on your head.
Do it your self carriage
Credit: Shy Vardi
Resolving ancient paradox? During the experiment, the organizers couldn't ignore some of the implications, derived from that event, regarding one of the most enigmatic and well known paradoxes in history: Achillesand the turtle. The turtle, according the original Zeno's paradox, has been given a small advantage, so he starts running 10 meters in front of Achilles. If Achilles wants to get in front of the turtle he first has to run to where the turtle started. But in that time the turtle has bridged some distance, which Achilles now has to run in order to take up. This process might continue forever… In our "Snails theoretical race" Achilles has been exchanged for a pigeon carrier. Given the snail 50 cm advance (and a fresh green lettuce) didn't give any chance for its imagined rival.
Intelligent snails? When free, Giant African Snails can pose a real threat to environment, as they tend to consume huge quantities of various foods, including many as 600 different species of plants. Dr. Ben-David-Zaslow, well remember that time when her snails succeeded in getting out of the box kept at her apartment. After searching them all over the house, she was surprised to find out that one of her valuable books had been eaten, almost completely, by the huge creatures. She was even more surprised to learn the poor prey was her memorable Encyclopedia for flora and fauna the land of Israel.Did the snails pick this prey deliberately? Was this event an indication for some sort of advanced intelligence? The answer is not clear yet, and much work has to be done on that issue.
A social note in favor of the weak and slow: The developers were particularly satisfied to show that in a society that worships the fittest, fastest, furtherest and highest , the weak and the slow can sometimes be the out performers.
(for more details and technical description please look here)
Following the breakthrough , here are some newly formulated snails laws:
EmbeddedJanitor laws (thx Slashdot)
IBM snail law : The world will only need five snails.
DEC snail law: : Nobody wants a snail in their home.
Microsoft: The new Longhorned snail is shipping…
spagetti law (thx Slashdot)
BillG: a 640K snail should be enough for anyone
The snail is the network – Sun Microsystems snail law
Please submit new laws either here (comments section) or by to: abenba-at-gmail.com
Ben Bassat Ami
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