DNA Computer Solves Complex Problem

Gina Miller writes "AScribe reports on March 14, 2002 Using 'Nature's Toolbox,' DNA Computer Solves Complex Problem; Molecular Technology May One Day Outstrip Computers. Leonard Adleman, computer science professor at USC famed for his 1994 demonstration that DNA could be used for computation, has now used a DNA based computer to solve a logic problem (a 20-variable instance of the NP-complete three-satisfiability (3-SAT) problem) that required an exhaustive search of more than a million possibilities. Unlike the simple problem solved by his 1994 demonstration, which could easily be solved by a human with pencil and paper, no human could solve this problem without the aide of a computer. Although the current massively parallel DNA computer could not match the performance of a modern electronic serial computer, it could have advantages in certain situations. "We've shown by these computations that biological molecules can be used for distinctly non-biological purposes," Adleman said. "They are miraculous little machines. They store energy and information, they cut, paste and copy." For another approach to computation with DNA, see the Nanodot post from 23 November 2001."

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