It uses something known as adenosine trophospate (ATP), which is energy currency of cells in most organisms.
In a remarkable first, scientists have just created a model supercomputer based entirely on biology.
The researchers designed and built the computer to be based on something called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is a biochemical that enables the transfer of energy cells and powers strings of protein to run the computer instead of using synthetic semiconducting circuitry like a regular computer, according to a UPI report.
This system is much smaller than a typical supercomputer, while mimicking the basic mathematical functionality. It also uses much less energy and won’t overheat because biological agents power the system.
The eventual goal is to build a supercomputer entirely out of biological components, but for now hybrid systems will have to do.
“We’ve managed to create a very complex network in a very small area,” Dan Nicolau, the Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at McGill, said in a statement. “This started as a back of an envelope idea, after too much rum I think, with drawings of what looked like small worms exploring mazes.”
And here’s how this incredible machine works, according to the statement: “But in the case of the biocomputer, the city is a chip measuring about 1.5 cm square in which channels have been etched. Instead of the electrons that are propelled by an electrical charge and move around within a traditional microchip, short strings of proteins (which the researchers call biological agents) travel around the circuit in a controlled way, their movements powered by ATP, the chemical that is, in some ways, the juice of life for everything from plants to politicians. Because it is run by biological agents, and as a result hardly heats up at all, the model bio-supercomputer that the researchers have developed uses far less energy than standard electronic supercomputers do, making it more sustainable. Traditional supercomputers use so much electricity, that they heat up a lot and then need to be cooled down, often requiring their own power plant to function.”
The findings were published in the journal PNAS.