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July 27, 2010

Molecular Cellular Automata Achieves 700 bits of Parallel Processing

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We covered work with a superthin computer just two molecules thick can solve complex problems and, somewhat like the human brain, can evolve to improve and perform many operations simultaneously. This is significant progress on molecular computing with molecular switches that is highly parallel and using cellular automata.

Foresight has coverage of this work

we have realized 700 bits parallel processing using cellular automaton for the first time in the world.

This is a significant advancement from our 16 bit parallel processing which was achieved in 2008. This invention may be in coherence with the Feynman’s vision…We can solve some problems which computers will take more than the age of this universe. We did it in 6-10 minutes.


At least 300 molecules in the system interact together like a massively parallel computer, each changing states when data is written into the system.

In principle, this new computer could also serve as a means to solve problems that conventional computers find too hard to tackle, "intractable problems that are considered impossible to finish within a finite time," explained lead researcher Anirban Bandyopadhyay, a physicist at the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba.

These might include predicting the behavior of systems with many interacting bodies — anything from disease outbreaks to the evolution of galaxies, Michigan's Pati said.

One important weakness of the system is how it depends on scanning tunneling microscopy, which is a slow process. In the future, it may be possible to use multiple tips to simultaneously scan many molecules at one time, Pati suggested.

Since these molecules assemble themselves into grids, scaling them up to a larger system will not be a problem. The team's next target is a computer employing 1,000 molecular switches.


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