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Natural Algorithms

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Nature, a source of minerals and precious stones is a mine of algorithms too.  In nature there are phenomena that resemble sorting action, phenomena which closely resemble division operation and so on.  By observing and studying these phenomena computer algorithms can be extracted.

It is possible to identify or observe natural phenomena from which algorithms can be derived, by accident or through a random search.  At the same time, it is difficult to propose a formal procedure (a set of well-defined steps) to search for a natural system that solves the problem at hand.  Nevertheless, the following suggestions given in the form of an algorithm will be useful in hunting for a suitable natural system.

1. Try to associate the data items that are central to the problem with entities in nature.  Let their attributes (mass, length, volume etc.) represent the magnitude of the data items.

2. Any algorithm transforms the input data, which is in a particular state into another form, which is the output data.  Therefore, keeping the entities in mind, try imagining a particular state of the system that depicts the input data and another state that depicts the output.

3. Now try to conceive a set of activities that can change the system state from the input state to the output state.

The above steps augmented with a little intuition should help the problem solver to zero-in onto a suitable natural system.

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