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PARALLEL NETWORK-BASED BIOCOMPUTATION

Today’s supercomputers are limited mainly by two obstacles: First, they use vast amounts of electric power – so much that the development of more powerful computers is hampered primarily by limitations in the ability to cool the processors. Second, they are not very good at doing two things at the same time.  This makes them particularly bad at solving  certain problems such as the design of error-free computer chips and software, calculating efficient resource use in industrial processes, or predicting protein folding.

Bio4Comp, an EU-funded research project focuses on pushing the limit for what size of such problems can be practically solved.  We call our approach "network-based  biocomputation": The idea is that biomolecular machines, each only a few billionth of a meter (nanometers) in size, can solve problems by moving through a nanofabricated network of channels designed to represent a mathematical algorithm; an approach we termed “network-based biocomputation”. Whenever the biomolecules reach a junction in the network, they either add a number to the sum they are calculating or leave it out. That way, each biomolecule acts as a tiny computer with processor and memory. While an individual biomolecule is much slower than a current computer, they are self-assembling so that they can be used in large numbers, quickly adding up their computing power.  How this works is explained in the video by ColdFusions TV below. Members of the Bio4Comp team have recently demonstrated in a publication in PNAS, that this approach works not only in theory but also in practice. 

Research Article in PNAS: Parallel computation with molecular-motor-propelled agents in nanofabricated networks

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Webinar:

Molecules that count

10 Dec 2020, 12:00 CET


Open for everyone in the fields of alternate computing, biotechnology and lab-on-a chip devices.

By organising this webinar, we are following an invitation by the EC to present our contribution to shaping Europe's digital future, namely to create a technology platform that could transform computing and biotechnology alike.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Seminar talk slides for download


Get a summary and overview of how calculations can be performed  using molecules in microfluidic networks


Read more and download: Events page

Bio4Comp has two main goals:
(i) We aim to develop the technology required to scale up network-based biocomputers to a point at which they are able to compete with other alternative computing approaches such as DNA computing and quantum computing.
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(ii) In the process, we aim to attract a larger scientific and economic community that will focus on developing the technology into a viable alternative computing approach.
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FUTURE AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

Bio4Comp is a research project funded by the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme of the European Union (grant agreement 732482).  The project has received 6.1 million euros from the Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) programme to run the highly interdisciplinary action touching mathematics, biology, engineering, and computation. The collaborative project has an expected duration of five years (2017-2021) and aims for the exploitation of the motion created by molecular motors proteins in a unique manner to solve mathematical problems.

THE INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF RESEARCHERS

The consortium consists of six partners from Sweden, Germany, the U.K. and Israel. This international team of researchers and technologists is lead by Prof. Heiner Linke, Director of the Nano Science Center at Lund  University (Sweden).   The partners are  TU Dresden (Germany), Prof. Stefan Diez group;  Linnaeus University in  Kalmar (Sweden),  Prof Alf Månsson group;   Molecular Sense Ltd. (UK), Dr. Dan Nicolau, CEO;   Bar-Ilan University  (Israel),  Dr. Hillel Kugler group;  and  two Institutes (Fraunhofer ISC and Fraunhofer ENAS)  of the   Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft (Germany).