White blood cells & the pursuit of perfection

Today, I came across a blog on Wired Science – “White Blood Cells Solve Traveling-Salesman Problem”.

 While some of the best mathematical minds have been tackling the traveling-salesman problem for decades and some have found efficient solutions, no one has figured out how to completely solve the puzzle. For a given number of cities, a traveling salesman must plan a route that visits each city once, covering the minimum possible overall distance. For any practical tour schedule of even eight to ten cities, fancy algorithms and serious computing power are usually needed.

 Rachel goes on and explains that “these cells “search” by tuning into local concentrations of chemical signals and following the signals to the nearest target. Repeating that process allows immune cells to find and demolish numerous invaders”. This is also how Sharks hunt for their prey.

They use methods which are relatively close (about 90% accurate) to the exact route but are effective nonetheless. The same goes for the business world as well. Instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity, the perfect timing to enter the stock market, the perfect email, the perfect product, the perfect strategy, it is very effective to go ahead and implement the almost perfect strategy or ship that product with its current set of features.
As always, we can learn a lot from nature and its inhabitants.