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Microscopic computing in cells and with self-assembling DNA tiles

Theory, Evolution, and Games Group

One of the three goals of natural algorithms is to implement computers in non-electronic media. In cases like quantum computing, the goal is to achieve a qualitatively different form of computing, but other times (as with most biological computing) the goal is just to recreate normal computation (or a subset of it) at a different scale or in more natural ways. Of course, these two approaches aren’t mutually exclusive! Imagine how great it would be if we could grow computers on the level of cells, or smaller. For starters, this approach could revolutionize health-care: you could program some of your own cells to sense and record your internal environment and release drugs only when necessary. It could also alter how we manufacture things; if you throught 3D printers are cool, what if you could program nanoscale assemblies?

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