bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Friday, April 02, 2004

Swarm intelligence inspires computer experts

Now, if you like a bit of jargon with your honey, you'll love this link about swarm intelligence. It's about how ideas of bee (and ant) activity — “societies of co-operating agents” — is helping the management of computer networks. Essentially, by decentralising decision-making, the problem solving improves, becomes more robust and still works well with different sizes of problems. These researchers implicitly understand that the Queen does not lead a swarm of bees — instead the decision-making is spread throughout the colony.

The idea of learning from swarms has been around for some time. As part of my work, I bought a book Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines in 1994 and found to my surprise that the author (Kevin Kelly) had a beehive beneath his office window and that the second chapter was entitled “The Hive Mind”.


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