DNA Computer...

Michael R. Head burner at suppressingfire.org
Sat May 31 17:46:48 BST 2008


On Fri, 2008-05-30 at 21:34 -0400, Mike wrote:
> Thought this was quite interesting. Can you imagine the possibilities?
> 
> DNA Computer Puts Microbes to Work as Number Crunchers...
> 
> http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=dna-computer-puts-microbe

I went to the first DNA computing conference over a decade ago, and have
followed the field for a while:
http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/Workshops/DNA/index.html 

Interesting stuff, but the problem has been in scaling it up. There have
been many examples of how to use DNA and enzymes as a computing
substrate. Unfortunately, when it comes to solving a problem on the
scale of (large cases of) NP hard problems that are a challenge for
existing digital computers, the techniques fall down. 

The most intriguing part of this new breakthrough is that the
computation is now embedded in a life form. All the DNA computing I've
heard about so far has involved solutions of DNA and enzymes outside of
cell membranes. As Adleman alludes to, the interesting applications here
are those that make use of the fact that the computer is embedded in a
living cell.

-- 
Michael R. Head <burner at suppressingfire.org>
http://www.cs.binghamton.edu/~mike/
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