Sometimes the word 'ecology' associated with the Internet has a very different sense. Researchers who investigate the economics, sociology, and technology of the Internet often turn to the fields of ecology and evolution for metaphors and guiding principles. Entities in cyberspace may be considered analogous to organic organisms that evolve according to rules. Optimal foraging theory can explain how people seek and consume information. Models of competition and niche theory describe behavior and evolution of web sites. The distributed, dynamic, nonlinear organization of the Internet lends itself to the same kinds of structure and scale analysis as ecological networks.
Because the Internet shares properties with ecological systems, those who study the ecology of information and those who study ecological informatics have much to learn from each other.
See also: Adaptive Agents; Application of Ecological Informatics; Applied Ecology; Artificial Neural Networks; Computer Languages; Data Mining; Evolutionary Algorithms; Wireless Sensor Networks Enabling Ecoinformatics.
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