On the map-coloring abilities of social insects

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Here’s a misleading headline from ScienceDaily:

Don’t get the wrong idea about the research- it’s not about real ants and real bees. Rather, the reported study is strictly a mathematical exercise comparing different types of problem-solving algorithms. One is a basic ant-inspired algorithm where the individual model units are identical, and another is a modification allowing for variation within the digital colony. This latter class was named the “Marriage in Honey Bees Optimization”, inspired by the promiscuous habits of bee queens that raise genetic diversity in the hive.

Before you draw any conclusions about how actual ants and bees behave out in nature, note that many ants species mate multiply just like honey bees. To the extent that living insects act like digital insects, those ant species might be expected to perform according to the Honey Bee model. Let’s not confuse the nomenclature of the models with the actual organisms.

(original paper)

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