They showed experimentally that pigeons can find solutions, close to optimal, to simple cases of a famous mathematical curiosity: the Travelling Salesman Problem.

The Facebook optimization team could come up with a best guess as to the gender, race, and ethnicity of every user, and make sure that the delivery of ads within certain categories like housing and employment are unbiased.

That prompted a group at Princeton University, led by the biophysicists Thomas Gregor and William Bialek, to suspect something else: that the cells could instead get all the information they needed to define the positions of pair-rule stripes from the expression levels of the gap genes alone, even though those are not periodic and therefore not an obvious source for such precise instructions.