Getting the Behavior of Social Insects to Compute

Science  29 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5564, pp. 2357
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5564.2357

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CAMBRIDGE, U.K.-- Global order can emerge from what appears to be local chaos--a concept that computer programmers have been cribbing from insect behavior for years to make networks run more efficiently. Now, reversing roles, a handful of entomologists are cribbing from the computer scientists. They deconstruct many behavioral patterns of social insects and show how these operate much like computer algorithms.