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Towards a Bioelectronic Computer: A Theoretical Study of a Multi-Layer Biomolecular Computing System That Can Process Electronic Inputs

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Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2018

Abstract

DNA molecular machines have great potential for use in computing systems. Since Adleman originally introduced the concept of DNA computing through his use of DNA strands to solve a Hamiltonian path problem, a range of DNA-based computing elements have been developed, including logic gates, neural networks, finite state machines (FSMs) and non-deterministic universal Turing machines. DNA molecular machines can be controlled using electrical signals and the state of DNA nanodevices can be measured using electrochemical means. However, to the best of our knowledge there has as yet been no demonstration of a fully integrated biomolecular computing system that has multiple levels of information processing capacity, can accept electronic inputs and is capable of independent operation. Here we address the question of how such a system could work. We present simulation results showing that such an integrated hybrid system could convert electrical impulses into biomolecular signals, perform logical operations and take a decision, storing its history. We also illustrate theoretically how the system might be able to control an autonomous robot navigating through a maze. Our results suggest that a system of the proposed type is technically possible but for practical applications significant advances would be required to increase its speed.

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