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Computers Made Out of DNA, Slime and Other Strange Stuff


Evolution’s Design

Most designs for molecular computers are based on human notions of what a computer should be. Yet as researchers applied mathematician Hajo Broersma of the Netherlands’ University of Twente wrote of their work, “the simplest living systems have a complexity and sophistication that dwarfs manmade technology” — and they weren’t even designed to be that way. Evolution generated them. In the NASCENCE project, short for “NAnoSCale Engineering for Novel Computation using Evolution,” Broersma and colleagues plant to exploit evolution’s ability to use combinations of molecules and their emergent properties in unexpected, incredibly powerful ways. They hope to develop a system that interfaces a digital computer with nano-scale particle networks, then use the computer to set algorithmic goals towards which evolution will guide the particles. “We want to develop alternative approaches for situations or problems that are challenging or impossible to solve with conventional methods and models of computation,” they write. One imagines computer chips with geometries typically seen in molecular structures, such as the E. coli ribosome and RNA seen here; success, predict Broersma’s team, could lay “the foundations of the next industrial revolution.” (via Computers Made Out of DNA, Slime and Other Strange Stuff | Wired Science | Wired.com)

Source Wired


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