Friday, January 22, 2010

Transportation Slime Mold

A Japanese scientist has discovered that slime molds, grown in a 2d medium like agar, inevitably finds the fastest route to food.
Used carefully, this is invaluable to planners of subway systems, freeways, and other shortest-route problems. (Which, on traditional computer systems, is NP-Complete, the kind of puzzle that may only be solvable by brute force attempting every possible solution, which takes somewhere around forever for more complicated examples.)
I'm left wondering what else can be solved by biology, which collectively has been working on these puzzles for millions of times longer than any of us has have.

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