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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Computers Built Out Of Organic Components: The Biological Computer

Building Living, Breathing Biological Supercomputers

Katherine Gombay | February 26, 2016

The substance that provides energy to all the cells in our bodies, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), may also be able to power the next generation of supercomputers. That is what an international team of researchers led by Professor Nicolau, the Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at McGill, believe.
They’ve published an article on the subject in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in which they describe a model of a biological computer they have created that is able to process information very quickly and accurately using parallel networks in the same way that massive electronic supercomputers do.

Strings of proteins of different lengths travel around the microchip that powers a new model biological supercomputer. Source:

<more at; related links and articles: (Stanford creates biological transistors, the final step towards computers inside living cells. March 29, 2013) and (Parallel computation with molecular-motor-propelled agents in nanofabricated networks. Dan V. Nicolau, Jr., Mercy Lardc, Till Kortend, Falco C. M. J. M. van Delftf, Malin Perssong, Elina Bengtssong, Alf MÃ¥nssong, Stefan Diezd, Heiner Linkec, and Dan V. Nicolauh. Early Edition, Dan V. Nicolau Jr., doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510825113, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. [Abstract: The combinatorial nature of many important mathematical problems, including nondeterministic-polynomial-time (NP)-complete problems, places a severe limitation on the problem size that can be solved with conventional, sequentially operating electronic computers. There have been significant efforts in conceiving parallel-computation approaches in the past, for example: DNA computation, quantum computation, and microfluidics-based computation. However, these approaches have not proven, so far, to be scalable and practical from a fabrication and operational perspective. Here, we report the foundations of an alternative parallel-computation system in which a given combinatorial problem is encoded into a graphical, modular network that is embedded in a nanofabricated planar device. Exploring the network in a parallel fashion using a large number of independent, molecular-motor-propelled agents then solves the mathematical problem. This approach uses orders of magnitude less energy than conventional computers, thus addressing issues related to power consumption and heat dissipation. We provide a proof-of-concept demonstration of such a device by solving, in a parallel fashion, the small instance of the subset sum problem, which is a benchmark NP-complete problem. Finally, we discuss the technical advances necessary to make our system scalable with presently available technology.]); further: (Israeli Scientists Develop An Advanced Biological Computer. May 23, 2013)>

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