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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 Moore’s law to be repealed in 10-15 years.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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Future Technology Briefing Biological Computing H. Kevin Fulke


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    1. Future Technology BriefingBiological ComputingH. Kevin Fulke

    2. Moore’s law to be repealed in 10-15 years.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

    3. 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/

    4. 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?

    5. Conventional vs. Biological Computing

    6. 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

    7. 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

    8. 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

    9. 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

    10. 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

    11. 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

    12. 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

    13. 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

    14. 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

    15. 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

    16. 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

    17. Development in Houston focuses on DNA chips University of Houston DNA chip research Xeotron Corporation manufactures DNA chips Biological Computing and Houston

    18. Thank You !Please feel free to ask any questions.