School Colloquia Series - Adam Micolich - Project Tripwire -- Electrical read-out in maze-based biological computing
Tuesday 18th April 2017
Physics Common Room - room G64
Speaker: Adam Micolich
Title: Project Tripwire -- Electrical read-out in maze-based biological computing
Abstract: New approaches to solving combinatorial problems are a major challenge in modern computer science. This challenge spills over into physics at numerous points, from the fundamental thermodynamics of information through to, e.g., the device physics involved in implementing computation. Although quantum computation garners much attention lately, there are other candidate approaches to solving combinatorial problems such as DNA computation, microfluidics-based parallel computation, etc. A new approach is maze-based biocomputation, where the problem is encoded as a maze searched by biological agents. The ability to attack brute force problems here relies, essentially, on Avogadro's number being enormous and biology being intrinsically cheap. This approach was recently demonstrated for the subset sum problem using the Actomyosin protein motor system . The two proteins involved, actin and myosin, are the same ones responsible for muscle contraction and cell movement. We have recently been working on a method for electrical read-out in this computation system using carbon nanotube transistors. I will talk about our progress on this project so far.
 D.V. Nicolau et al., PNAS 113, 2591 (2016).