An international team of researchers found that biocomputers are better than modern-day supercomputers for at least a couple of reasons. Book-sized biological machines can perform the same tasks a football-field sized server can, while also being hyper energy efficient.
Heiner Linke, nanoscientist with Lund University in Sweden and coordinator of the research team, noted that biocomputers need about 1 percent of the energy a super computer requires to carry out a specific task.
Furthermore, biocomputers are extremely good at solving combinational problems, making them extremely handful in attempts to crack encryption and other tasks that require a plethora of combinations to be performed in record time.
Scientists noted that super computers can also solve this type of problems, but biocomputers are better because they are tinier and more energy efficient. The team explained that biocomputers are powered by molecular motors that can carry out mechanical actions within living cells.
Engineers likened processes within biocomputers with those in our muscles where specific molecules keep the body parts running. The team was able to reproduce the role of organic molecules inside hardware through a complicated ‘labyrinth’ of molecular channels.
Linke explained that each nano-sized channel holds a specific set of instructions for protein filaments. The way molecules move across the labyrinth corresponds to the answer to a specific task or question.
Nevertheless, biocomputers have few similarities with quantum computers, which are also expected to become the successors of current super computers. While the latter rely on qubits to carry out specific tasks, biocomputers rely on molecules that closely work together.
Another advantage of biocomputers is their cost. Molecules are cheaper than the cutting edge technology required to build a quantum computer. Linke explained that a recent experiment, proving biocomputers can perform a specific mathematical operation with a fraction of energy a regular computer requires, means that the technology could become readily available within a decade.
The experiment was conducted by a joint team of researchers form Sweden, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, and Canada. A research paper on the experimental work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Nevertheless, there is more work to be done to improve the system. So far, it is only the beginning as the biocomputer can only solve a specific mathematical task at a time.
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