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Mar 10

Book Review: The Smart Swarm

The Smart SwarmThe Smart Swarm by Peter Miller

This is one of those rare, great books that manage to talk about many different fields of science and weave them together. It uses the habits and organizations of social animals (bees, ants, starlings, etc.) and relates it to how people interact with one another. It touches on everything from fluid dynamics (how locust swarms and human stampedes happen) to supply chains, to computer intelligence.

The book is structured in chapters that discuss different types of animals, and it’s got plenty of anecdotes to keep the pace up. Most of the books referenced were ones I’ve read before, so it’s not first-hand reporting of original research, but there were enough new stories and new information to interest me.

If you’re interested in science, and especially if you’re interested in animal behavior, this is a good book to pick up. My main complaint about it is that the authors pre-suppose their readers to have a more solid basis in higher math than I do. I think some of the nuances on 3-d rendering software and computational thermodynamics were lost on me.

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