For more than a few decades now, scientists have been functioning on developing computers that are DNA-based and have the capability to perform easy tasks. Few approaches are analog rather than digital. The thought of utilizing DNA was first projected in 1994 to tackle key restrictions of silicon. The molecules’ miniature size and ultimate stability give it several benefits over the conventional computers, making it perfect for problem-solving.
However, now a research team at the University of Manchester has apprehended on another characteristic of DNA, that is, its capability of replicating itself. The research is first of its kind to validate the achievability of a nondeterministic universal Turing machine (NUTM), which until now had existed only in the hypothesis. The study is elaborated in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
Ross King, Computer Science Professor, University of Manchester, said, “Suppose a computer is looking for a maze and reaches to a point where it has to choose either of a path, that is either the one leading to left or the other to the right. An electronic computer requires to select which path should be followed first. But the new computer does not need to select, as it is capable of replicating itself and thus, can pursue both paths simultaneously and hence find the solution more rapidly.”
Thus, no structured operations or interaction is required in the new computer. The DNA is preprogrammed or edited to reproduce and accomplish several computational paths. Quantum computers with their quantum bits can also produce divergent and simultaneous paths; since they need detailed symmetries to work appropriately, it restricts their adaptability and application.
This technology is still far away from commercialization as, at present, there are problems, for instance, with error correction, which should be solved. But the team considers that sooner or later they could surpass standard computers on numerous significant practical issues.
This would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the field of technology when accomplished. Isn’t it?