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Old 10-25-2010, 01:21 PM   #1
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Default Bees' tiny brains beat computers, study finds

Bees' tiny brains beat computers, study finds | Environment | The Guardian

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The conundrum involves finding the shortest route that allows a travelling salesman to call at all the locations he has to visit. Computers solve the problem by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the one that is shortest.
Bees manage to reach the same solution using a brain the size of a grass seed.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:55 PM   #2
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Modern living depends on networks such as traffic flows, internet information and business supply chains.
"Despite their tiny brains bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behaviour," said Raine. "We need to understand how they can solve the travelling salesman problem without a computer."
That would be interesting to discover. Bees don't just move from flower to flower. An evaluation of which flowers are past prime and which still have ample stores of pollen and nectar is also part of the equation.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:46 PM   #3
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Ah.

Right, I can see that.

I know when I was working in the Computer Science dept, the Traveling Salesman problem (only) is called NP Hard. NP Meaning it's easy to check an answer, but very difficult to generate an answer. Which means you need to do huge amounts of computation to find the right answer and guarantee you have it, basically exhausting all options.

Bee's being able to solve NP Hard (the TS problem) alone, not taking into account considerations of quality of flowers, is pretty much amazing.

The fact that there are these other variables added on top of that well, it's already freaked me out to the point that I find it hard to believe in the first place, adding more variables means my brain starts panicking.
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