A group of researchers from the National University of Incheon, South Korea has succeeded in developing a very simple processor made of DNA molecules that could replace conventional electronics-based processors in the future.
The use of DNA molecules for computation was originally discussed for storage. As biology and computer science come together, researchers have experimented with DNA molecules to create storage solutions that can easily hold terabaydollars of data. But while the large storage capacity of DNA-based solutions is promising, there are some limitations. As for the read and write phase of data storage solutions, it can take up to a second to write a single base to DNA-based storage.
This is mainly because DNA storage works on a different principle and needs a different way to work with data. Therefore, a processor based on DNA molecules was required that would operate on the same data formatting principle as standard storage solutions.
According to The Register, researchers from Incheon National University have developed a new technology that uses DNA molecules to perform classical computation, putting everything in a simple form factor.
Called the Microfluidic Processing Unit (MPU), the solution includes DNA processing elements to perform some basic computer logic. The first prototype of the MPU can do the simple AND, OR, XOR, and NOT operations.
Previously, to do any basic operation with DNA, researchers had to manually tune the complex configurations to be made in reaction tubes. The working process of these tubes was not very practical and everything was slow. The new MPU does everything automatically and uses a 3D printer. This reduces complexity and makes it easier to come up with a usable processor that works on DNA molecules.
The developed processor was controlled by a PC and can be operated by a smartphone. So external resources are still needed to control this chip. From Incheon National University, Dr. According to Song, “Future research will focus on DNA computation solution with a combination of DNA algorithms and DNA storage systems. ”