Bumblebees: Smarter Than Your MacBook?

More

Bees have brains the size of a grass seed. But new research shows that they may be able to solve problems significantly faster than computers. According to scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, one swarm solved the "traveling salesman problem" by figuring out the shortest flying route between randomly placed flowers.

Similarly, the traveling salesman must find the most efficient route to each place he has to visit. When a computer solves the salesman problem, it measures and compares the length of each possible route and chooses the shortest one.

Scientists say we may be able to learn something from the bees.

The research, due to appear this week in the journal The American Naturalist, has implications for the human world. 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."

Read the full story at the Guardian.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Elizabeth Weingarten is an editorial assistant at the New America Foundation. A former Slate editorial assistant, she also previously wrote for and produced the Atlantic's International Channel.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In