DNA computerA nanocomputer that uses DNA (deoxyribonucleic acids) to store information and perform complex calculations.
In 1994, University of Southern California computer scientist Leonard Adelman suggested that DNA could be used to solve complex mathematical problems. Adelman found a way to harness the power of DNA to solve the Hamiltonian path problem (the traveling salesman problem), whose solution required finding a path from start to end going through all the points (cities) only once.
Each city was encoded as its own DNA sequence (DNA sequence consists of a series of nucleotides represented by the letters A, T, G, C).
The DNA sequences were set to replicate and create trillions of new sequences based on the initial input sequences in a matter of seconds (called DNA hybridization). The theory holds that the solution to the problem was one of the new sequence strands. By process of elimination, the correct solution would be obtained.
Adelman's experiment is regarded as the first example of true nanotechnology.
The main benefit of using DNA computers to solve complex problems is that different possible solutions are created all at once. This is known as parallel processing. Humans and most electronic computers must attempt to solve the problem one process at a time (linear processing). DNA itself provides the added benefits of being a cheap, energy-efficient resource.
In a different perspective, more than 10 trillion DNA molecules can fit into an area no larger than 1 cubic centimeter. With this, a DNA computer could hold 10 terabytes of data and perform 10 trillion calculations at a time.
Tape clearly is on the decline. But remember, legacy systems can hang for a shockingly long time. Read More »Apple Pay Promises to Strengthen Payment Security
Experts believe that Apple Pay and other competitive payment systems will be far more secure than cards, even cards equipped with EMV chips. Read More »Internet of Things Shaping IT's Future
To make the IoT both work and pay off, IT is juggling upgrading and building app-centric networks, mapping out new data center architectures and... Read More »
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »Webopedia Polls
The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. How do you typically shop for holiday... Read More »How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website
This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »