“Ant colony optimisation” for wind farms

“Ant colony optimisation” for wind farms. (May 4, 2011) Anthony Watts makes another ‘thinking is stupid’ blog post and his free-thinking readers scramble to match his wit.

Anthony found a University of Adelaide press release about increasing wind farm productivity using evolutionary modeling. The researcher happens to mention ant colonies as natural example of achieving efficiency that we can emulate with incrementally optimized simulations.

Here’s the hilarious trigger for Anthony’s derision:

“Ant colony optimisation” uses the principle of ants finding the shortest way to a source of food from their nest.

“You can observe them in nature, they do it very efficiently communicating between each other using pheromone trails,” says Dr Neumann. “After a certain amount of time, they will have found the best route to the food – problem solved. We can also solve human problems using the same principles through computer algorithms.”

Isn’t improving a technology, any technology, a worthwhile thing? This kind of gleeful ignorance, and the vapid enthusiasm with Anthony’s readers join in, reveals a disheartening narrow-mindedness.

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