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ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 2001, 62, 643651 doi:10.1006/anbe.2001.1795, available online at http://www.idealibrary.com on
 

Summary: ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 2001, 62, 643651
doi:10.1006/anbe.2001.1795, available online at http://www.idealibrary.com on
The complexity and hierarchical structure of tasks in insect
societies
CARL ANDERSON*, NIGEL R. FRANKS & DANIEL W. McSHEA*
*Department of Biology, Duke University
School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol
(Received 13 October 2000; initial acceptance 13 January 2001;
final acceptance 30 May 2001; MS. number: 6715R)
To understand the functioning and organizational complexity of insect societies, a combination of
different approaches is needed. One such approach, which we adopt in this study, is to consider tasks in
insect societies not based upon their function, as is traditional, but upon their structure. Four types of task
in insect societies have been proposed: individual, group, team and partitioned tasks. We examine the
relationships among these four task types and consider `task complexity' to mean the degree of
cooperation and coordination required to complete a particular task successfully. In this respect,
individual tasks are considered the simplest (low complexity), group tasks are more complex (medium),
and team and partitioned tasks the most complex (high). We decompose tasks into their component
subtasks to understand how the demands of a task influence how workers must work together to
complete it successfully. We describe a simple method to measure the complexity of tasks using task
deconstruction. Points are assigned to each subtask within the task and summed to give a total score. This

  

Source: Anderson, Carl - Synthetic Intelligence, Qbit, LLC, Bethesda, MD

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Engineering; Mathematics