Field study shows group decision making not always the best

center_img (Phys.org) —A combined team of researchers from Arizona State University and Uppsala University in Sweden has found that collective decision making by ants doesn’t always result in selecting the best option for adopting a new nest. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes experiments they conducted with ants and artificially lit nests to determine how the ants chose the best option. © 2013 Phys.org Temnothorax rugatulus, a type of ant that lives in Arizona, builds its nest in the ground—it has to pick a spot first however, and they way an ant colony does so was the focus of this new effort. The team wanted to know if collective decision making was always superior to that of individual ants.To find out, the researchers set up an environment where a colony of ants found itself in need of a new nest. Each test run involved a colony that had to choose between a control nest and one that varied in quality. Quality was based on how much light could enter the nest from holes that led to the surface. The more light, the lower the quality—ants like it dark and fewer holes mean less heat loss.The team noted that when one of the nests was obviously far superior to the other, both the colony as a whole, and individual ants more often chose the better option. What was surprising, however, was that individuals had a slightly better hit rate then the colony as a whole.When a colony “decides” it needs a new nest, scout ants are sent out to find a new site. When one of the scout ants finds one it likes, it releases a chemical that attracts another of the colony members. If that member also likes the site it too will release a chemical attracting another ant and so on. The site that gets the most “votes” is the one eventually chosen by the colony. But, when a single ant is forced (by the researchers) to make a decision about which site to pick, it has to look at all the options and make a decision on its own—that takes more time than the multiple ant approach because in that scenario, individual ants only ever review one site—its more efficient. It’s also more likely to lead to errors of course and that’s why the colony as a whole tended to choose the wrong best site more often than the single ants—when the choice was obvious—who could make the decision without having to waste time thinking it over. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

The essence of Indian art

first_imgCurating concepts to interpret the idea of India, a battery of designers, artists, artisans, architects and the best of technicians collaborated to deliver what is India’s largest art in public space initiative, The Art Program. Amongst these large installations, two are ready to be shipped off to the Mumbai airport where they will become a part of a collective manifestation of the best our country has to offer. But before that, Delhi gets a special preview of these artworks on the 9 July in Mehrauli, where visitors will have the opportunity to see the art works and interact with the creators over High Tea.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Over the last three years, Rajeev Sethi, an eminent scenographer and chairman of the Asian Heritage foundation spearheaded this programme to represent  21st century India in a manner that leaves visitors with no doubt that they are in India. The first work by Rajeev Sethi, Reappearances below the Tarmac was conceived as a play on the idea of the airport as a virtual metropolis, and the city that disappears and reappears around these 21st century hubs. The cross-runway unique to the Mumbai Airport transforms into a vortex amid an enormous mosaic reminiscent of the city as we fly in. Amid this terracotta skyscape fly mythical airplanes and whimsical flying machines crafted by the potters of Molela, a village near Udaipur, in a significant departure from the customary votive terracotta plaques of gods and goddesses they make. Interspersed between are contemporary studio photographs of young men and women, re-touched up by miniature painters. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix The second, Touché, also by Rajeev Sethi, is inspired by the panchamahabhutas in a symbolic elemental greeting. These coalesce in various permutations and combinations to create the Universe and the five senses by which we perceive them. Air, the second element, born of the agitation created in the vast stillness of space by primordial sound, is expressed as the pavan (wind) and sparsh or the sense of touch. Interpreting Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds as a visual metaphor, Touché celebrates the gentle breeze in the arid desert as it wafts through intricate jaalis and the joyous indulgence in this simple sensual pleasure. Referencing the quintessentially tactile quality of textiles, the Hawa Mahal here morphs into an enormous pagdi or turban – insouciantly transforming textile into architecture. Head over to see these two art installations being displayed for the first and the only time in Delhi.last_img read more