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Ant Hive Supermind Solves Complex Math

A biologist was once quoted as saying that every engineering problem in existence has already been figured out by Mother Nature. Just take a look around, and you'll see the truth in those words. Crawling on walls? Flight? Resistance to infection? Materials stronger than steel? Whatever the question, the animal kingdom solved it millennia ago.

The adage holds true even in the other disciplines. Researchers have already proven that honeybees are capable of calculations that confound even the most powerful supercomputers. They're not the only ones too. A paper published in the Journal of Experimental Biology showed how colonies of Argentine ants could dynamically solve complex math problems.

The experiment, run by scientists at the University of Sydney, showed how the ants could find the optimal route through any maze. When the team tried blocking off this route, the ants quickly adjusted, and within an hour found a different path that used the least amount of steps. The Sydney researchers were so impressed, they started developing algorithms based on the ants' abilities to always find the quickest way from point A to point B, no matter the situation.

So just like that nerd who got bullied back in grade school, the ants are breaking new ground in the field of mathematics. The only difference is, you try to pick on this nerd and it'll fight back with a million bites and stings.

[source: Journal of Experimental Biology via Physorg and Digg]