Weird & Wonderful
Bee-Brains Beat Computers
Release date: 2nd October 2011
Scientists at the University of London, have discovered that bumblebees can beat computers in solving complex mathematical problems. In order to save energy when collecting nectar they calculate the shortest possible route between the flowers they have randomly discovered. This is sometimes called 'The Travelling Salesman Problem'. According to Science Daily (25th October 2010) 'The Travelling Salesman', must find the shortest route that allows him to visit all locations on his route. Computers solve it by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest. However bees solve it without computer assistance, using a brain the size of a grass seed.
After exploring the location of the different flowers, bees found the shortest route much quicker than computers could. Researcher Dr Nigel Raine said,
"Despite their tiny brains bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behaviour. We need to understand how they can solve The Travelling Salesman problem without a computer. What shortcuts do they use?" So bees, with "a brain the size of a grass seed," can beat modern computers and scientists hope to learn something from them.
Computers, and the programs they use, didn't come into existence by chance processes. How much less could bumblebees, with their superior ability, be the result of random mutations and natural selection over millions of years. This new evidence clearly points to the existence of a Designer, who created the bees with brains already programmed to solve mathematical problems.
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