Feeds

Tiny trackers untangle bee secrets

Navigating for efficiency

Top three mobile application threats

UK researchers have used radar tracking - very small radar tracking - to help shed light on bumblebee navigation.

Since there's long been an obsession about the bumblebee's supposed inability to fly, getting them airborne with a backpack seems something of a feat. The results of the research, described in this PLOS article, could help humans find efficient solutions to the "travelling salesman" problem.

In computer science, that problem is classified as NP-hard - but solutions are valuable for everything from logistics to network topology.

The research, conducted by Lars Chittka at the University of London, used both the radar trackers and video footage to study how bumblebees optimised their routes between hives and nectar sources that the researchers moved once the subjects had their route worked out.

Route optimisation is important to bees, since they live on a delicate balance of the energy available for foraging and the return they get.

As this PLOS synopsis notes, bees seem to combine trial-and-error with memory to get the best route. Between their first and last attempts, the bumblebees were able to optimise their routes by around 80 percent.

While the researcher found that computers could (unsurprisingly) get the best "trapline", the bees came very close, and generally only needed to test around 20 of 120 possible routes to come up with a good result. "This tradeoff between perfection and speed highlights the differences between mathematical and biological solutions to the travelling salesman problem," the article notes. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.