At the point where chemistry butts heads with ICT the foundations are being laid for a radical kind of information processing technology inspired by chemical processes in living systems. And ‘chemical computation’ like this would mean more adaptable, massively parallel computing which can respond faster to changing conditions.
The EU-funded Neuneu project is working on harnessing chemical and biological reactions for information processing and architecture which, according to the team, ‘crudely resembles biological neurons’. What works for the brain – the original wet ‘cognitive computer’ – should also work in this emerging field, they conclude. But this ambitious research calls for a broad range of specialists including computer scientists, biophysicists, chemical physcists, biochemists, chemical biologists and electrical engineers.
Biochemical computing imitates what nature does best – adapting and evolving with the environment and circumstances. Wet computing systems can theoretically even make their own decisions on how to deal with processing demands – reassembling, reproducing and repairing as needed.