Chinese scientists presented a basis for creating universal computers using

Chinese scientists presented a basis for creating universal computers using DNA

Despite all the progress in the field of work with DNA – the template and tool for the reproduction and development of living organisms on Earth – attempts to use the same mechanism to execute mathematical algorithms cannot yet be considered sufficiently successful. At the same time, DNA logic is capable of colossal parallelism, which will make it possible to increase the performance of computers, which is far from the case progressive Chinese scientists.

    Image source: Pixabay

Image source: Pixabay

Science has made great progress in this area Recording data on DNA. This is the basic deoxyribonucleic acid option. Data recording and storage has relatively low requirements in terms of the speed of operation of the platform, which depends on the rate of biochemical reactions. Another thing is computer circuits, the speed of which must be maximum. In principle, parallelism partially solves this problem. But until recently, the electronic circuits on DNA that scientists worked with could not boast of universality – they only executed a limited number of algorithms.

A team of researchers from China has developed a DNA integrated circuit that can perform a variety of operations. According to scientists, a reconfigurable basic element (electronic circuit) with 24 addressable two-channel gates can be represented in the form of 100 billion circuit variants, each of which can execute its own subroutine. It follows that, based on this solution, a general-purpose processor capable of executing any program can be designed.

In my work that was published In the magazine Nature, the researchers showed how they could perform simple mathematical operations using a three-layer circuit matrix based on their DNA chip. The presented platform is easily scalable, so we can expect the development of very powerful processors in the future.

To address the scaling problem, scientists have done other work. In order for a signal to pass through DNA chains, biochemical data must be transmitted in a specific direction and without attenuation. And the longer this path (scale), the higher the probability that the “signal” – a DNA fragment or a concentration of DNA fragments – will be lost. Chinese scientists tested as a “signal”. Oligonucleotides – short DNA fragments that are already used as detectors and carriers of DNA information. In their experiments, the Chinese showed that typical single-stranded oligonucleotides work well for uniform signaling and enable reliable integration of large circuits with minimal leakage and high accuracy for general computing tasks.

“Ability to integrate large DPGA networks [ДНК БИС] without obvious signal attenuation represents an important step toward universal DNA computation.” – say the researchers.

    Image source: Nature

In vitro calculations. Literally. Image source: Nature

As an example, scientists created a circuit for solving quadratic equations, composed of three layers of cascaded digital computers, consisting of 30 logic gates and containing about 500 strands of DNA. Furthermore, integrating DPGA with an analog-to-digital converter will enable the classification of microRNAs associated with diseases. In other words, the proposed platform will not only function like a normal computer, but will also be able to diagnose viral and other diseases instantly. And the big question is which of these features will be most useful.


About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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