Bees Shame Computers, Travelling Salesmen

Posted by on October 28th, 2010

A complex mathematical problem known as the Travelling Salesman Problem, and which is known to take a supercomputer days to solve, is effectively being solved by bees in real time. Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and Royal Holloway have discovered that bees can quickly determine the shortest route between flowers even when they learn about the flowers in a different order. The problem that the Travelling Salesman must solve is finding the shortest route that allows him to visit all the locations on his route. The current method used by computers to solve it is by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest. Scientists hope to study the bees to better manage our own networks while also learning the “minimal neural circuitry required for complex problem solving.”

[Queen Mary via]

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