Bee-Inspired Evaluation Algorithm Leads to Improved Decision Making in Groups

Molly Sturgis, Marianne Alleyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence of technology as a fundamental centerpiece in everyday life has allowed for more connections and human groups than ever before. Each of these groups faces decisions that impact all members, ranging from the type of food to order for an event to relocating a company's headquarters. Traditionally, groups might make a decision by asking members to vote or by having a committee make an executive decision. However, these traditional means do not handle situations with many possible solutions well, nor leverage the experience of the group members. Humans are not the only, nor even the first creatures to make group decisions. We can look to social insects which make decisions for colonies of up to tens of thousands of individuals. Drawing inspiration from how honey bees, (Apis mellifera), find new nest sites, the bee-inspired evaluation (BIE) algorithm was developed. This mechanism was modeled and shown that simulated groups make decisions that average within 0.2% of the optimal choice. Simulated groups consistently made less error-prone decisions using the BIE algorithm when compared to a simple majority voting system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8721459
Pages (from-to)1427-1434
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Systems Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Bioinspiration
  • decision-making mechanism
  • group decision making
  • honey bees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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