You might want to sit down for this one, but here goes.
A team of scientists from Japan and Michigan Technological University have created a molecular computer circuit with four conducting states — twice what is usually found with a sillicon based chip.
The significance of this could be quite profound. Modern computing chips process information sequentially, though they are capable of processing information at unfathomable speeds.
Conversely, the human brain (our computer chip) can process information at much slower speeds, though because our millions of neurons are simultaneously working together to process information, our brain is a more more sophisticated and efficient information processing unit.
“The neat part is, approximately 300 molecules talk with each other at a time during information processing,” Pati says. “We have mimicked how neurons behave in the brain.”
“The evolving neuron-like circuit network allows us to address many problems on the same grid, which gives the device intelligence,” Pati says. As a result, their tiny processor can solve problems for which algorithms on computers are unknown, especially interacting many-body problems, such as predictions of natural calamities and outbreaks of disease. To illustrate this feature, they mimicked two natural phenomena in the molecular layer: heat diffusion and the evolution of cancer cells.
In addition, their molecular processor heals itself if there is a defect. This property comes from the self-organizing ability of the molecular monolayer. “No existing man-made computer has this property, but our brain does,” Bandyopadhyay says. “If a neuron dies, another neuron takes over its function.”
“This is very exciting, a conceptual breakthrough,” Pati says. “This could change the way people think about molecular computing.”
Obligatory: Keanu Reeves “whoa” or “welcome our new overlords.” Your choice.