One of the most beautiful and awe-worthy show in nature is to observe a school of fish or a flock of birds, with their exquisite coordination between all its members that make the many individuals look like an organism in its own right. There is some progress in trying to model this behavior with mathematics and these models look pretty good indeed. This, as with absolutely any information that science may give us, has the potential of offering insights with practical applications.
As interesting as this effort is (and I truly believe it IS interesting), there is a little, very low voice in the back of my head that asks “…this is good, but, is it the real thing? How close is the model to the true reality of the flocking phenomenon?” In my mind, it is a little bit like watching an actor in a movie. In a sense, the film (and more recently an electronic version of an image) is an analog or digital model that shows how the actors move with a high degree of fidelity and yet… It is not the real thing.
I am thinking about expanding these thoughts into a full blog post. What do you think? Let me know! (:-)
Picture credit: http://physicsworld.com