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[softpedia] IBM Is Working on DNA-Based processors

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If silicon gets inside our body, then why wouldn't DNA be able to get inside machines?

IBM scientists are currently researcher on linking DNA molecules with conductive carbon nanotubes. The procedure is extremely complicated because of the small scale the engineers are forced to work at. Once the carbon nanotubes are interconnected, the DNA can be shed off, leaving just an orderly grid of nanotubes. The grid itself is a data storage matrix, but at the same time it can perform basic calculations.

"These are DNA nanostructures that are self-assembled into discrete shapes. Our goal is to use these structures as bread boards on which to assemble carbon nanotubes, silicon nanowires, quantum dots," said Greg Wallraff, an IBM scientist and a lithography and materials expert working on the project. "What we are really making are tiny DNA circuit boards that will be used to assemble other components."

This new goal is an addition to the research on the "DNA origami," conducted by Paul Rothemund of California Institute of Technology. Currently, more and more researchers are turning to DNA in search of an older goal, the "self-assembly".

The advantages of building semiconductors based on DNA and nanotubes are especially concerning the chips' size, given the fact that DNA can work at a 2-nanometer scale. Imagine a chip built at two-nanometer node, then compare it to a state-of-the-art processor built with the 45-nanometer production node.

"There is nothing else out there that we can do that with," said Jennifer Cha, an IBM biochemist working on interlinking the genetic material and the carbon nanotubes. The main challenge in the production process is "convincing" the carbon-based materials to adopt an ordered and precise position. The DNA can do this due to its chemical composition, as guanine and cytosine react in more predictable manners.

"The sequence (of base pairs in DNA) is well known," said Cha. "Most people are acknowledging that DNA and these biological scaffolds are actually quite useful to at least pattern very small systems."

DNA-based chips will allow the industry to send Moore's law to the trash bin, as the chip's surface will dramatically diminish. The technique will also allow chip designers to reduce their budgets for advanced lithography systems.


Source
post #2 of 40
UHHH, This is Skynet... "more and more researchers are turning to DNA in search of an older goal, the "self-assembly".
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post #3 of 40
Mind blowing stuff.
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post #4 of 40
This was featured in MaximumPC mag ~ 2 or 3 months ago, but not for IBM... for some other company. Far as I remember, they already had success but it was something like $100K+ in cost....
post #5 of 40
Whoa. Sorry to double post, but check this from 2003

Quote:
Israeli scientists have devised a computer that can perform 330 trillion operations per second, more than 100,000 times the speed of the fastest PC. The secret: It runs on DNA.
From a reputable source, nonetheless.
post #6 of 40
Like stated above...Skynet...hope I'm dead before judgment day. I use to think computer are the future, Now I think that computers may be our doom. Humans have had millions of years to learn to control ourselves and we still fail at that. I think that a machine with uncontrollable emotions is a bit dangerous.
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post #7 of 40
Quote:
Perhaps most importantly, DNA computing devices could revolutionize the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields. Some scientists predict a future where our bodies are patrolled by tiny DNA computers that monitor our well-being and release the right drugs to repair damaged or unhealthy tissue. "Autonomous bio-molecular computers may be able to work as 'doctors in a cell,' operating inside living cells and sensing anomalies in the host," said Shapiro. "Consulting their programmed medical knowledge, the computers could respond to anomalies by synthesizing and releasing drugs."
source
post #8 of 40
This stuff is beginning to scare me. Maybe this computer thing is going too far. Skynet looks more possible everyday.
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post #9 of 40
I say bring it on. You can't stop it anyway... just ride the wave, baby!
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post #10 of 40
Wow.
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