Xinxing Zhang, et al. ©2013 American Chemical Society
On creativity of slime mould
Andrew Adamatzky, Rachel Armstrong, Jeff Jonesa, Yukio-Pegio Gunji
International Journal of General Systems
Volume 42, Issue 5, 2013
"The great appeal of non-traditional computing is that I can connect the un-connectable and link the un-linkable," said Andy Adamatzky, director of the Unconventional Computing Center at the University of the West of England. He's made computers from electrified liquid crystals, chemical goo and colliding particles, but is best known for his work with Physarum, the lowly slime mold.
Amoeba-like creatures that live in decaying logs and leaves, slime molds are, at different points in their lives, single-celled organisms or part of slug-like protoplasmic blobs made from the fusion of millions of individual cells. The latter form is assumed when slime molds search for food. In the process they perform surprisingly complicated feats of navigation and geometric problem-solving.
Slime molds are especially adept at finding solutions to tricky network problems, such as finding efficient designs for Spain's motorways and the Tokyo rail system. Adamatzky and colleagues plan to take this one step further: Their Physarum chip will be "a distributed biomorphic computing device built and operated by slime mold," they wrote in the project description.
"A living network of protoplasmic tubes acts as an active non-linear transducer of information, while templates of tubes coated with conductor act as fast information channels," describe the researchers. "Combined with conventional electronic components in a hybrid chip, Physarum networks will radically improve the performance of digital and analog circuits."
Computing with Liquid Crystal Fingers: Models of geometric and logical computation
Andrew Adamatzky, Stephen Kitson, Ben De Lacy Costello, Mario Ariosto Matranga, Daniel Younger
For decades, scientists who study strange materials known as complex fluids, which switch easily between different phases of matter, have been fascinated by the extraordinary geometries formed by liquid crystals at different temperatures and pressures.
Those geometries are stored information, and the interaction of crystals a form of computation. By running an electric current through a thin film (above) of liquid crystals, researchers led by Adamatzky were able to perform basic computational math and logic.
Creation of Long-Term Coherent Optical Memory via Controlled Nonlinear Interactions in Bose-Einstein Condensates
Rui Zhang, Sean R. Garner, Lene Vestergaard Hau
Department of Physics and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
Physical Review Letters – 4 December 2009 - Volume 103, Issue 23
If quantum computers running on entangled photons are still far-off, there's another, non-quantum possibility for light-based computing. Clouds of ultra-cold atoms, frozen to temperatures just above absolute zero -- the point at which all motion ceases -- might be used to slow and control light, harnessing it inside an optical computer chip.
Computers Made Out of DNA, Slime and Other Strange Stuff
Brandon Keim 04.02.13