Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computing with slime: Logical circuits built using living slime molds

Date:
March 27, 2014
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. Researchers have revealed details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors.

Slime mold (Physarum polycephalum).
Credit: Dr. Jonatha Gott and the Center for RNA Molecular Biology, Case Western Reserve University

A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. In a study published in the journal Materials Today, European researchers reveal details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors.

Related Articles


Andrew Adamatzky (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK) and Theresa Schubert (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany) have constructed logical circuits that exploit networks of interconnected slime mold tubes to process information.

One is more likely to find the slime mold Physarum polycephalum living somewhere dark and damp rather than in a computer science lab. In its "plasmodium" or vegetative state, the organism spans its environment with a network of tubes that absorb nutrients. The tubes also allow the organism to respond to light and changing environmental conditions that trigger the release of reproductive spores.

In earlier work, the team demonstrated that such a tube network could absorb and transport different colored dyes. They then fed it edible nutrients -- oat flakes -- to attract tube growth and common salt to repel them, so that they could grow a network with a particular structure. They then demonstrated how this system could mix two dyes to make a third color as an "output." .

Using the dyes with magnetic nanoparticles and tiny fluorescent beads, allowed them to use the slime mold network as a biological "lab-on-a-chip" device. This represents a new way to build microfluidic devices for processing environmental or medical samples on the very small scale for testing and diagnostics, the work suggests. The extension to a much larger network of slime mold tubes could process nanoparticles and carry out sophisticated Boolean logic operations of the kind used by computer circuitry. The team has so far demonstrated that a slime mold network can carry out XOR or NOR Boolean operations. Chaining together arrays of such logic gates might allow a slime mold computer to carry out binary operations for computation.

"The slime mold based gates are non-electronic, simple and inexpensive, and several gates can be realized simultaneously at the sites where protoplasmic tubes merge," conclude Adamatzky and Schubert.

Are we entering the age of the biological computer? Stewart Bland, Editor of Materials Today, believes that "although more traditional electronic materials are here to stay, research such as this is helping to push and blur the boundaries of materials science, computer science and biology, and represents an exciting prospect for the future."

The research was undertaken in a framework of EU FP7 Project "Physarum Chip" (Unconventional Computing program).


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew Adamatzky, Theresa Schubert. Slime mold microfluidic logical gates. Materials Today, 2014; 17 (2): 86 DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2014.01.018

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Computing with slime: Logical circuits built using living slime molds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327100335.htm>.
Elsevier. (2014, March 27). Computing with slime: Logical circuits built using living slime molds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327100335.htm
Elsevier. "Computing with slime: Logical circuits built using living slime molds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327100335.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) WikiLeaks&apos; Julian Assange says the hacked emails and documents "belong in the public domain." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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