How Honeybees Make the Internet Work | Design, Comm, Sci and Tech |

Computer engineers study the mathematics of how to optimize complex systems. In one example, they face a logistics challenge known as the "travelling salesman problem:" how can a hypothetical salesperson visit every city on their route in the shortest distance?

The algorithms developed to answer these sorts of questions are useful in many situations, such as reducing the costs of and pollution from a fleet of delivery trucks. But when engineers tried to optimize traffic on the internet, they found their methods wanting. [...]

Honeybees don't study mathematics, but the demands of evolution reward those colonies that succeed in optimizing their resources. Fortunately, in the strange tale of how honeybees make the internet work, the scientists were smart enough to see that the honeybees knew better than they did.

Via Miguel Prazeres