The first molecular computer based on synthetic polymers created

    French scientists from the Sadron Institute successfully coded and then read the word Sequence (it was represented in the ASCII code) using a sequence of synthetic polymers. Thus, they proved that information can be stored in polymer molecules and it will occupy 100 times less (physical) space than on ordinary hard drives. / Flickr / steve p2008 / CC to encode information into the polymers using two different types of monomers ( "bits"), containing phosphate groups. The first type denotes one, and the second - zero. Every eight monomers have an NO-C molecular separator (separator) that marks a byte.

    To decrypt information, each byte is first "separated" at the location of the separator. After this, the phosphate bonds between the monomers are destroyed, and the monomers themselves are identified using a mass spectrometer.

    Now it takes several hours to encode and read information. But according to scientists, the problem is solved - for this it is necessary to automate the synthesis of polymers and sequence analysis.

    The next goal of scientists is to create the first "molecular diskette" - a larger molecule. She will be able to store several kilobytes of information, such as a page of text.

    Note that another group of European scientists is also involved in the development of biocomputers and, after 5 years, is planningpresent a solution based on myosin and kinesin proteins. It will work, like quantum computers, on the principle of parallel computing. At the same time, the developers plan that the “protein” computer will surpass quantum machines in performance.

    However, researchers from the Sadron Institute believe that their development is better suited for mass use, since working with synthetic polymers is easier than with biological ones. You can read more about their project in an article for Nature Communications.

    / The Flickr / igemhq / CC

    Alternative solutions

    In addition to "polymer" computers, computers based on quanta and DNA are actively being developed. All of them are designed to replace conventional silicon chips in order to more efficiently store data and improve computing performance.

    According to Dan Nicolau, professor at the McGill University’s Department of Bioengineering in Montreal, almost all the truly interesting mathematical problems of our time cannot be solved using modern computers.

    Quantum computers usephenomena of quantum superposition and quantum entanglement. If an ordinary computer for cracking a four-digit password will look for them by brute force, then for a quantum computer with a sufficient number of qubits, the desired password is one of its possible states.

    Thus, a number of problems quantum machines solve "instantly." The most efficient quantum computer currently has 51 qubits.

    However, quantum computers have two significant problems. To work, they need: a temperature close to zero according to Kelvin, a vacuum and the absence of electromagnetic radiation. In addition, if qubits interact with each other, then their lifetime is significantly reduced .

    There are also adiabatic D-Wave computers withmore than 1,000 qubits , capable of handling 21,000 probable results simultaneously. But they cannot be called classical quantum computers, since they do not use the principles of quantum entanglement. They are used to recognize patterns, study the three-dimensional shape of a protein using a known sequence of amino acids, and solve discrete optimization problems.

    As for other alternatives to silicon, DNA computers have been developing for over 20 years. In 1994, Leonard Adleman demonstrated that DNA can effectively solve the classic traveling salesman problem . Now Microsoft is actively working on the creation of a DNA computer. In particular, she has already managedplace 200 MB of data on the DNA carrier.

    DNA coding is performed by sequences of four nitrogen bases: cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymine. When the data is encoded, the molecule is synthesized. It can store information for several thousand years.

    PS Three materials on the topic of high performance from our corporate blog:

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