Viability of DNA computer Turing machine allowing growth with computing power designed
Manchester, Mar 02 :First time in technology history, scientists have designed a new, super-fast form of a ‘magic’ computer made of DNA molecules that grow as it computes and can perform better than all standard systems in solving key practical problems.
UK’s The University of Manchester researchers showed the viability of engineering a universal Turing machine (UTM) – a computer that can be programmed to compute anything any other device can process.
Electronic computers are a form of universal Turing machine(UTM), but no quantum universal Turing machine(UTM) has yet been made.
The conceptual properties of such a computing machine, including its exponential boost in speed over electronic and quantum computers, have been well understood for many years – but the breakthrough indicates that it is actually possible to physically create a universal Turing machine(UTM) using DNA molecules.
“Assume a computer is searching a maze and comes to a choice point, one path leading left, the other right. Electronic computers need to choose which path to follow first,” said Ross D King, from The University of Manchester. “But our new computer doesn’t need to choose, for it can reproduce itself and follow both paths at the same time, thus finding the answer faster,” said King.
“This ‘magical’ property is possible because the computer’s processors are made of DNA rather than silicon chips. All electronic computers have a fixed number of chips,” he said. “Our computer’s ability to grow as it computes makes it faster than any other form of computer, and permit the solution of many computational problems previously considered impossible,” Ross D King added.
“Quantum computers are an exciting other form of computer, and they can also follow both paths in a maze, but only if the maze has certain symmetries, which greatly limits their use,” King said. “As DNA molecules are very small a desktop computer could potentially utilise more processors than all the electronic computers in the world combined – and therefore outperform the world’s current fastest supercomputer, while consuming a tiny fraction of its energy,” he said.
DNA computing is the performing of computations using biological molecules rather than traditional silicon chips. In DNA computing, information is represented using the four-character genetic alphabet – A (adenine), G (guanine), C (cytosine) and T (thymine) – rather than the binary alphabet, which is a series of 1s and 0s used by traditional computers. The research appears in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.