One small amoeba found a solution to the traveling salesman problem faster than our best algorithms. What does it know that we don’t? A group of researchers from Tokyo’s Keio University set out to use an amoeba to solve the Traveling Salesman Problem, a famous problem in computer science. While the amoeba is acting passively, the scientists are trying to figure out just how it finds the shortest route.
- Keio University’s solution is different from the typical algorithmic solutions produced by other researchers because the scientists used an amoeba.
- The amoeba doesn’t have to calculate every individual path like most computer algorithms do. Instead, the amoeba just reacts passively to the conditions and figures out the best possible arrangement by itself.
- This one small amoeba—and the way it solves difficult problems—might just change the face of computing forever.
“This might seem like a roundabout way of calculating the solution to the traveling salesman problem, but the advantage is that the amoeba doesn’t have to calculate every individual path like most computer algorithms do.”