“DNA is the future of computing,” Jian-Jun Shu tells PhysOrg. And why not? Silicon is slow by comparison, computes in a binary system, creates waste heat, and is not particularly easy on the environment. DNA-based computing can perform better than silicon in several respects, Shu says, and he and a few of his students at Nanyang Technical University in Singapore have set out to prove it.
The general idea: the human body performs computations all of the time, and does so far faster than even the fastest silicon-based supercomputer. Moreover, it does so in a parallel fashion, working with more breadth, speed, and agility than the ones and zeros of silicon computation. For massive parallel problems, artificial intelligence problems, and combinatorial problems, DNA-based computing could be far more efficient.