Bees' brains and computers

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Bees' brains and computers

Postby quantropy » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:22 pm UTC

Don't you just love the media. Apparently bees can solve the travelling salesman problem, which keeps computers busy for days ( ... c=t&ned=uk)

And how many nodes did they test the bees on?

4 (

Moose Hole
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Re: Bees' brains and computers

Postby Moose Hole » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:03 pm UTC

I'm a traveling salesman and I use bees instead of computers to navigate.

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Re: Bees' brains and computers

Postby Yakk » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

Animals collecting resources that replenish over time often visit patches in predictable sequences called traplines. Despite the widespread nature of this strategy, we still know little about how spatial memory develops and guides individuals toward suitable routes. Here, we investigate whether flower visitation sequences by bumblebees Bombus terrestris simply reflect the order in which flowers were discovered or whether they result from more complex navigational strategies enabling bees to optimize their foraging routes. We analyzed bee flight movements in an array of four artificial flowers maximizing interfloral distances. Starting from a single patch, we sequentially added three new patches so that if bees visited them in the order in which they originally encountered flowers, they would follow a long (suboptimal) route. Bees’ tendency to visit patches in their discovery order decreased with experience. Instead, they optimized their flight distances by rearranging flower visitation sequences. This resulted in the development of a primary route (trapline) and two or three less frequently used secondary routes. Bees consistently used these routes after overnight breaks while occasionally exploring novel possibilities. We discuss how maintaining some level of route flexibility could allow traplining animals to cope with dynamic routing problems, analogous to the well‐known traveling salesman problem.

They are invoking some kind of hill-climbing strategy.

And it was 4 initial, plus 3 introduced, not 4.
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Technical Ben
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Re: Bees' brains and computers

Postby Technical Ben » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:22 pm UTC

Meh. I saw "how bees can see colour" tests done in a strange way. I don't know if it was just an error for the filming, or for the actual test.
They "swapped the colour of the artificial flowers" and the bees still found them.
No mention on whether the bees can smell the sugar food, or that they REMEMBERED where the flowers were. As they did not move them, just changed the colour of the plastic petals. :roll:

I don't have time to read every paper on every subject. So anything I see in the news I take with a BIG pinch of salt. Until I see the next IBeePod* that is.

*real life application or proofs.
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Re: Bees' brains and computers

Postby poohat » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:50 am UTC

I dont have access to that paper, but are they looking at individual bees, or swarms?

If the latter then this is vaguely relevant; there are classes of cool optimization algorithms that solve problems by using ideas borrowed from real-world swarms (bees, ants, etc) where you get intelligent behavior emerging from the actions of many individually unintelligent actors, and these have been applied to the travelling salesman problem .

This is similar.

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