Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Significant advances made in molecular computing

Date:
December 17, 2009
Source:
University of Kent
Summary:
Researchers have made significant advances in molecular computing. These include defining the fundamental limits of such 'biological computers'. Molecular computing attempts to use components of organisms (eg genes) to run calculations inside living cells. Currently, most of the work in this area is theoretical or concerned with future applications of the technology, such as molecular computers being used to release drugs into the body or enhance our ability to study and learn from biological systems.

Researchers from the School of Computing at the University of Kent have made significant advances in molecular computing.

These include defining the fundamental limits of such 'biological computers'.

Molecular computing attempts to use components of organisms (eg genes) to run calculations inside living cells. Currently, most of the work in this area is theoretical or concerned with future applications of the technology, such as molecular computers being used to release drugs into the body or enhance our ability to study and learn from biological systems.

In a paper published by the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the University's Dr Dominique Chu and his PhD student Radu Zabet have, by defining the fundamental limits that molecular computers are subject to, also addressed the question as to how fast they can perform a computation -- a prerequisite for the design of 'living machines'.

Dr Chu explained: 'There are a variety of different mechanisms by which living organisms perform computations, and they do so at many different levels. Examples include the nervous system in higher organisms or even individual proteins. Understanding what constrains the efficiency and the speed of these computations is not only of practical relevance -- for example, in the context of engineering purpose-built novel life forms ie synthetic biology -- but will most of all provide new insights into the design principles of living systems.

'Our research demonstrates that the speed of bio-molecular computers is fundamentally limited by their metabolic rate or their ability to process energy. One of our main findings is that a molecular computer has to balance a trade-off between the speed with which a computation is performed and the accuracy of the result. However, a molecular computer can increase both the speed and reliability of a computation by increasing the energy it invests in the computation. With molecular computers this energy may be derived from food sources.'

Dr Chu also explained the importance of these findings for computing in general. 'This is one of the first papers deriving fundamental limits on the speed of bio-molecular computers,' he said. 'Our results are potentially of high theoretical and practical importance. Much work remains to be done to fully understand its implications for the field of molecular computing but also for our understanding of design principles of the living world.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kent. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zabet et al. Computational limits to binary genes. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 2009; DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2009.0474

Cite This Page:

University of Kent. "Significant advances made in molecular computing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215171512.htm>.
University of Kent. (2009, December 17). Significant advances made in molecular computing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215171512.htm
University of Kent. "Significant advances made in molecular computing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215171512.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins