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Future Technology Briefing Biological Computing H. Kevin Fulke. Moore’s law to be repealed in 10-15 years. Because of limitations of physical circuits Quantum physics Other problems: Toxic components Very energy inefficient . Current Computing Paradigm Limitations.

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current computing paradigm limitations
Moore’s law to be repealed in 10-15 years.

Because of limitations of physical circuits

Quantum physics

Other problems:

Toxic components

Very energy inefficient

Current Computing Paradigm Limitations
other computing alternatives
Other Computing Alternatives
  • Optical computing
    • See previous future technology briefing
  • Quantum computing
    • See previous future technology briefing
  • Molecule cascade computing, a.k.a. ‘atoms toppling like dominoes’ computing

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/

what is biological computing
The use of living organisms or their components, e.g. DNA strands, to perform computing operations or functions associated with computing, e.g. storage.What is Biological Computing?
dna computing
DNA Computing
  • Uses strands of DNA
  • 4 amino acids (G, C, T, and A) bond together
    • Bonding is regular and predictable (C – G and T – A)
  • Variety of data can be represented by chemically embedding the data into DNA strands

Source: http://www.bioss.sari.ac.uk/~dirk/essays/ParShiftsInfTech/eca_future.html#DNA

dna computing7
Can be a general purpose tool for a variety of problems

Has solved different problems already

Traveling salesperson

Many possible applications:

Pattern recognition

Cryptography

Picking efficient routes

Evaluating gene sequence

DNA Computing
dna chips
DNA Chips
  • Closely related to DNA computing
  • DNA strands embedded on a chip (example to the right)
  • Allows evaluation of thousands of genetic material samples
  • Application: developing disease treatments

Source: http://www.wageningen-ur.nl/news/2001-10_en.htm

genetic programs and robots
Genetic “Programs” and “Robots”
  • “Computer programs” made of genetic materials.
  • “Downloaded” into cells
  • Controlling chemical processes in cells
  • The next step: genetic “robots”
  • Applications:
    • Disease treatment
    • Chemical production

Source: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AB/66/genes.html

silicon based computer living organism hybrids
Living organisms + silicon-based computing technology

Control of traditional computing technology

Exploiting the abilities of living brains to:

Understand complex problems

Solve problems correctly with only partial information.

Silicon-Based Computer / Living Organism Hybrids
silicon based computer living organism hybrids11
Silicon-Based Computer / Living Organism Hybrids
  • Examples:
    • Lamprey fish brain controls robot
    • Leech brain performs math
    • Fish-n-chips art
      • Seen to the right

Source: http://www.fishandchips.uwa.edu.au

silicon based computer living organism hybrids12
Silicon-Based Computer / Living Organism Hybrids
  • Humans are next!
  • Kevin Warwick
    • Attached a microbe into his skin as the example below demonstrates

Source: http://www.rdg.ac.uk/KevinWarwick/Info/ImplantDiagram.html

engineered living organisms
Engineered Living Organisms
  • Growing nerve fibers is step 1.
  • The ultimate product: A brain in a jar?
  • Applications:
    • Computation
    • Decision making
    • ?

Source: http://glendhu.com/ai/bluesky/biobrains.html

benefits of biological computing
Energy efficient

DNA can hold an enormous amount of information

Component materials plentiful, easily obtained, and nontoxic

Massively parallel processing

Unparalleled control over living processes

Adaptation

Self-assembly

Healing

Self-improvement

Benefits of Biological Computing
potential problems with biological computing
Genetic “robots” too expensive with current technology

Individual computing operations extremely slow

DNA computing can take a lot of DNA that can’t be reused

DNA computing error levels

Ethical and moral issues

Potential Problems with Biological Computing
biological computing time table
DNA chips available since 1996

DNA computer available for commercial lease in 2003

Genetic “programs” and “robots” - 5 or more years from now

Hybrids and engineered life forms – ?

Biological Computing Time Table
biological computing and houston
Development in Houston focuses on DNA chips

University of Houston DNA chip research

Xeotron Corporation manufactures DNA chips

Biological Computing and Houston
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