Advisory Board

Dr. Craig A. Tovey

The PhysOrg article Bee strategy helps servers run more sweetly said

Honeybees somehow manage to efficiently collect a lot of nectar with limited resources and no central command — after all, the queen bee is too busy laying eggs to oversee something as mundane as where the best nectar can be found on any given morning. According to new research from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the swarm intelligence of these amazingly organized bees can also be used to improve the efficiency of Internet servers faced with similar challenges.
A bee dance-inspired communications system developed by Georgia Tech helps Internet servers that would normally be devoted solely to one task move between tasks as needed, reducing the chances that a Web site could be overwhelmed with requests and lock out potential users and customers. Compared with the way server banks are commonly run, the honeybee method typically improves service by 4 percent to 25 percent in tests based on real Internet traffic. The research was published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.
After studying the efficiency of honeybees, Craig Tovey, a professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech, realized through conversations with Sunil Nakrani, a computer science colleague visiting from the University of Oxford, that bees and servers had strikingly similar barriers to efficiency.
“I studied bees for years, waiting for the right application,” Tovey said. “When you work with biomimetics (the study of how biological principles can be applied to design and engineering), you have to look for a close analogy between two systems — never a superficial one. And this definitely fit the bill.”

Craig A. Tovey, Ph.D. is a professor at ISyE (School of Industrial and Systems Engineering) and at the College of Computing at Georgia Tech.
Craig’s principal research and teaching activities are in optimization, probabilistic analysis, and natural systems. He received a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1985 and the 1989 Jacob Wolfowitz Prize for research in heuristics. He was granted a Senior Research Associateship from the National Research Council in 1990, and was named an Institute Fellow at Georgia Tech in 1994. He is a member of INFORMS, Sigma XI, and Phi Eta Sigma. His current research concerns the effectiveness of valid inequalities in integer programming, classical, and biomimetic algorithms for robots and webhosting, the formation of social dominance hierarchy structures, and sustainability measurement.
He authored Non-approximability of Precedence-Constrained Scheduling to Minimize Setups, and coauthored Analysis of a Random Cut Test Instance Generator for the TSP, Dynamic Network Flow with Uncertain Arc Capacities: Decomposition Algorithm and Computational Results, A Single Probe Traversal Optimization for Testing of MCM Substrate, Optimal Algorithms for Online Resource Scheduling, Optimal Asset Replacement Under Continuous and Ongoing Technological Progress, Online Resource Minimization, Analysis of greedy robot-navigation methods, and On Honey Bees and Dynamic Allocation in an Internet Server Colony. Read the full list of his publications!
Craig earned a B.A. in applied mathematics from Harvard College in 1977, a M.S. in operations research from Stanford University in 1979, and both an M.S. in computer science and a Ph.D. in operations research from Stanford University in 1981. Read his profile in the article Sweet Rewards.