Leader-less ants make super efficient networks

Phys.org, Oct 23, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

We actually see this sort of phenomenon fairly frequently. It's yet another example of simple low-level processes working over time to create order and efficiency without management or leadership. In this case, ants are creating the most efficient routes between networks of nests, even though these are difficult to compute. "We videotaped the ants forming their networks to work out exactly how they create this efficient solution, and found that networks formed through trial and error. Initially, ants built inefficient networks that had many redundant trails and dead ends but over the next few hours, redundant trails gradually disappeared until the reached its final, efficient configuration." Long-time readers will remember how, in 2001, I taught ants to navigate a maze.

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