Scientists have shared the incredible details of a potentially revolutionary biological supercomputer, powered by adenosine triphosphate.
Often called a “molecular unit of currency” by the scientific community, ATP allows energy to be transferred while inside cells. As such, the supercomputer comes with small protein strings in lieu of semiconductors and other internal parts located on top of a microchip. It’s only about as large as a book, making it considerably smaller than conventional, giant-sized supercomputers, but comes with the same mathematical capabilities. Most of all, though, the supercomputer is very energy-efficient, and doesn’t overheat like its usual counterparts do.
“Now that this model exists as a way of successfully dealing with a single problem, there are going to be many others who will follow up and try to push it further, using different biological agents, for example,” said study lead Dan Nicolau of McGill University in Canada. His research was published this week in the journal PNAS.
The supercomputer may still need some work done on it, and it is merely a prototype. But the researchers believe a more complete version may be in the cards, with the help of hybridization technology.
“One option for dealing with larger and more complex problems may be to combine our device with a conventional computer to form a hybrid device,” said Nicolau in his press statement. “Right now we’re working on a variety of ways to push the research further.”