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  • 10/30/2010

Bees solve math problems to find food


Study says bumblebees are the first insects known to be capable of solving complex mathematical problems for finding the shortest route to food sources.

Scientists at the University of London found that bumblebees can easily solve the so-called 'Traveling Salesman Problem' to find food shortcuts.

"Foraging bees solve traveling salesman problems every day," said Dr. Nigel Raine.

"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.”

Computers solve the same problem by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest, researchers said in a statement.

Despite having a brain the size of a grass seed, bumblebees were able to fly the shortest route in an experiment with computer-controlled artificial flowers.

Scientists tried to see whether insects followed a route defined by the order in which they discovered the flowers or they calculated the shortest route.

The bees quickly found the shortcut after exploring the location of the flowers, msnbc reported.

Researchers say their findings can help humans in solving traffic problems and be used to improve the understanding of how bees pollinate crops and wild flowers.

"Our lifestyle relies on networks such as traffic on the roads, information flow on the Web and business supply chains," the statement said.

"By understanding how bees can solve their problem with such a tiny brain we can improve our management of these everyday networks without needing lots of computer time."

Source: presstv.ir

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