Home > Medical, Nature, Research, Science > White Blood Cells Solve Traveling Salesman Problem

White Blood Cells Solve Traveling Salesman Problem

“While some of the best mathematical minds have been tackling the traveling salesman problem for decades and some have found efficient solutions, no one has figured out how to completely solve the puzzle: For a given number of cities, a traveling salesman must plan a route that visits each city once, covering the minimum possible overall distance.

A pencil and paper and brute force can find the shortest route when there aren’t a lot of target cities. But fancy algorithms and serious computing power are usually needed when the number of targets reaches mere double digits.

The new research, to appear in an upcoming Physical Review E, shows that when there aren’t a lot of targets, cells do a pretty good job of finding the shortest possible route that hits all the targets.

These cells “search” by tuning into local concentrations of chemical signals and following the signals to the nearest target. Repeating that process allows immune cells to find and demolish numerous invaders.”

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