What Slime Molds And Subways Have In Common, According to Scientists - io9
The slime mold Physarum polycephalum forms networks between food sources that are as efficient and fault tolerant as anything we can design. In order to test quite how good the mold is, and if it could be used to help human planning, a group of Japanese and British scientists pitted it against the Tokyo rail system, and found a surprisingly efficient result.
The scientists created a simulacrum of the area surrounding Tokyo, and placed the mold directly on the location of the city itself. Neighboring cities were marked by food sources. In order to replicate the geographical limitations of the area (mountains and lakes), light was used to create regions the mold would avoid, as it doesn’t like illumination.