Excerpt: What do ants and bees have to do with business? A great deal, it turns out. Individually, social insects are only minimally intelligent, and their work together is largely self-organized and unsupervised. Yet collectively they're capable of finding highly efficient solutions to difficult problems and can adapt automatically to changing environments. Over the past 20 years, the authors and other researchers have developed rigorous mathematical models to describe this phenomenon, which has been dubbed "swarm intelligence," and they are now applying them to business. Their research has already helped several companies develop more efficient ways to schedule factory equipment, divide tasks among workers, organize people, and even plot strategy.
- Swarm Intelligence: A Whole New Way to Think About Business, Eric Bonabeau, Christopher Meyer, Harvard Business Rev, R0105G, 01/05/01