Bees beat computers in solving complex problems

These insects are capable of solving the 'travelling salesman problem' - finding the shortest route between two randomly selected points - unlike any other animal, besides humans, say scientists.

Computers solve the problem by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest one, The American Naturalist journal says.But bees manage to reach the same solution using a brain the size of a grass seed, reports the Daily Mail.

Nigel Raine, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: "Foraging bees solve travelling salesman problems every day. "They visit flowers at multiple locations and, because bees use lots of energy to fly, they find a route which keeps flying to a minimum."

Raine's team used computer-controlled artificial flowers to test bee behaviour. After exploring the location of the flowers, bees quickly discovered the shortest route.
Learning how bees solve the 'travelling salesman problem', that too with such tiny brains, can lead to better management of internet information, traffic, business supply chains and other aspects of modern living, researchers said.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)