Future Computers May Be Tiny Molecular Machines

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Future Computers May Be Tiny Molecular Machines

Instead of relying on the binary number system, the current system used for storing data. Computers of the future will process data using a number of molecular qualities, such as shape, colour and size according to the United States defence research. As the volume and complexity of the global digital data grow. So does the need for more compact and capable means of storing and processing data. To address this challenge, the DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Project Agency) has recently announced its Molecular Informatics program. Whose main purpose is to seek a new model for data retrieval, processing and storage. The future computers may be tiny molecular machines.

What is Molecular Informatics?

Molecular Informatics, aims at investigating and exploiting the wide range of properties and structural characteristics of molecules to manipulate and encode data.

According to Anne Fischer, DAPRA’s Program Manager, says: “chemistry offers a rich set of properties, which could be used to harness rapid and scalable information processing and storage”.

Millions of molecules exist. Each of these molecules possesses a unique 3-dimensional structure together with variables such as size, shape and colour. This type of richness offers a vast design space for exploring the multi-value and novel ways to process and encode data beyond the binaries of the current logic-based digital structural design.

Shakespeare Encoded in DNA


Researchers in the past have managed to develop other molecular storage systems. A good example is where the scientists managed to encode Shakespeare’s sonnets in DNA. Such systems not only stay for a longer time but they also fit perfectly in tiny packages. The genetic instructions used for encoding an entire human being fit perfectly inside a tiny newborn baby. However, such systems have their drawbacks. One challenge is that the data cannot be accessed and read quickly, as DNA encoding must first be converted into the traditional digital format. Furthermore, DNA with its 4 letter encoding, offers a limited way of encoding information.

Collaborative Science Community

The aim of this program is to explore the encoding space of millions of molecules that offers much more opportunity than the four building block molecules. To attain this goal, the program will acquire a diverse and collaborative community of researchers. From various fields such as computer science, information science, mathematics, chemistry, electrical engineering and chemical engineering.

Nanotech Future


Mr Pititto from Thepcdoctor.com.au says, “these minuscule DNA powered computers of the future will be able to retrieve, store and process large volumes of data at speed”.

Recently a group of three scientists has been named 2016s Nobel Prize winners after designing the world’s tiniest machines. The machine measured only one-thousand the width of human hair. The world’s tiniest machine plays a significant role in our nanotech-enabled future. With that said, it is safe to say that computers in the future may be minuscule molecular machines if the program by DARPA proves to be successful.

Sarah Miller

Sarah writes about her personal journey, learning, life optimisation and her passions. For more thoughts and ideas, you can connect with Sarah on Twitter

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