Simon's Ant was a concept developed by famed lecturer and computer science researcher Herbert Simon. The idea of Simon's Ant explains how simple ideas can be applied to complex situations and come up with a great result.

Imagine an ant walking along a beach. As you watch it, it may take a very winding, complex path. If you stop to think about this, you may draw the conclusion that the ant must be a complex creature. Is it traveling the way it does because it is searching for food? To cover the most ground? Or is it lost, trying to find its way home? Ants have little brains, but surely this ant's determination to make this convoluted path must be one of nature's marvels.

As you look closer, however, you notice rocks in the ant's path. The ant was trying to go in a straight line, but couldn't. As it continued walking and saw a rock in its way, it just turned so it could keep walking. That's a very simple action, much less complex than systematically searching an area for food or another complicated task.

The point here is that the "main character" in this situation was not the complex thing, rather it was the environment that was complex. The ant's simple way of thinking got it through its complex environment with very little effort. This example is trivial, but the concept applies to a lot of situations.

This idea doesn't just apply to ants. Most people can get their way through complex situations, often without thinking too hard. Why do something the hard way, if a much easier solution comes naturally? This principle of simplicity also allows computer programs to do relatively complex tasks.

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