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Queues: An abstract view

Writing a blog article which someone can read in about five minutes and about something fundamental is not an easy task. And if this topic is fundamental whilst talking about human nature at the same time, then it becomes an even more difficult task. Why?

Well when it comes to fundamentals of human nature and trying to understand it, one finds himself or herself traversing through nearly all the different realms of knowledge like history, psychology, evolution, science etc. You name it. My reasoning would be that it’s because as a species, we humans have endeavoured to understand and reason our existence with other humans, beings and things around us, that it has had an almost direct impact on how we behave.

Queueing, or in more simple terms forming a line, is in my opinion an example of something which is very fundamental and bound with principles of human nature. Nature itself has many examples which closely resemble queues and which may even be the foundations of how we as humans started the behaviour of queueing in the first place. One example I can note is where if you drop some sugar on the ground, in about 10 minutes you’ll see a group of ants in a linear formation picking up this sugar and taking it back to their colony. It allows the colony to function. It’s possible early humans saw this behaviour of the ants and realised that in order for them to function and maintain order, a similar behaviour was necessary.

It is a part of our everyday existence. Growing up, my home only had the one bathroom. And with two other siblings, I was very quickly introduced to the idea of a queue whilst waiting to take my morning shower. As I waited for the bus to take me to school, I had to wait behind others who were there before me to get on the bus. As I grew up and entered the world of computing, I started seeing how the concept was used to serialise different operations that had to be carried by the computer’s processor. Each task was lined up in a queue and had to wait before the tasks in front of it completed. When I went to the doctor, I had to take a ticket and wait for the number on the ticket to be called out before I could go and see the doctor.

It’s otherwise very hard to imagine how the examples given above would have worked if we as humans had not understood from the ants the behaviour of queueing. During World War 2 in Great Britain, queues were fundamental in keeping order ensuring that essential food supplies were distributed to the general public in an orderly and equal fashion. This article given below is an interesting one where it talks about how Queuing is thought to be a British way of life.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23087024

So as I set out to write this article, I wanted to keep a very abstract view on the topic, but there is something we can take away from this. It’s the fact that queues have evolved from some very fundamental behaviours found in nature and in today’s modern society where we live and share resources with other human beings, animals, plants etc. this orderly behaviour allows us to operate efficiently.

If you wish to find out more about Queuzone and how it operates to take this fundamental behaviour into the world of online computing, visit http://quezone.co.

Prathamesh Datar

Prathamesh Datar is a freelance writer with Quezone. His interests include cricket, economics and programming.