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by Eric Bonabeau and Guy Théraulaz m

Using ants and other social insects as models, computer scientists have created software agents that cooperate to solve complex problems,such as the rerouting of traffic in a busy telecom network

nsects that live in colonies—ants, bees, wasps, termites—have long fascinated everyone from naturalists to artists. Maurice Maeterlinck, the Belgian poet, once wrote, "What is it that governs here? What is it that issues orders, foresees the future, elaborates plans and preserves equilibrium?" These, indeed, are puzzling questions.

Each insect in a colony seems to have its own agenda, and yet the group as a whole appears to be highly organized. Apparently the seamless integration of all individual activities does not require any supervision. In fact, scientists who study the behavior of social insects have found that

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