Chemical Computers

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Is it possible to use simple glucose to design a chemical computer, and therefore reflect the architecture and chemicals of the human brain?
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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Is it possible to use simple glucose to design a chemical computer, and therefore reflect the architecture and chemicals of the human brain?
You've said that you have a background in computer software. Have you studied computer hardware at all? What chemical processes do you propose for the flip/flop type memory "bit" elements? How would you tie those together into registers? What would you use for multiplexed busses?

There are a heck of a lot more chemicals and chemical processes going on in the human brain than just glucose. Can you comment on why you are focusing on glucose in this query?

What reading have you been doing about computer hardware and other ways to implement that functionality versus the current electronic methods?
 
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  • #3
berkeman
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reflect the architecture and chemicals of the human brain?
Or are you thinking more along the lines of a Neural Network model of brain processing? Again, what other chemicals and structures would you need to include in such a model? :smile:
 
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sophiecentaur
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What chemical processes do you propose for the flip/flop type memory "bit" elements?
I would assume that any computer would not be of the digital kind. Remember, at one stage, the analogue computer was doing calculations that were beyond the capabilities of its digital companion.
The chemical control in plants and animals is certainly a function that could be described computer-like. It's just that the problems it can solve are of the non-numerical kind. The OP would need to decide what problem that chemical computer would be designed to solve (it would not be of a 'general purpose' device.
 
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I was thinking that the wiki article suggested untested chemicals etc, whereas the human brain in fact has all the chemical components mapped already. What we essentially gain is a computer with essentially unlimited registers, therefore it can process really really fast. Glucose makes sense to me, and somebody in the know should ask around about this idea. Chemical computers could be one of the next Turing machines, or some kind of video processing thing which will be really really fast, or some kind of future AI which could quite literally be possible in a development cycle if my idea proves correct.
 
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epenguin
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You need molecules with sufficient information content, and then mechanisms letting things combine and produce a change similarly to computer operations. The field is DNA computing and it is taken quite seriously
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_computing
And you can find many articles in Nature.
 
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256bits
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I would assume that any computer would not be of the digital kind. Remember, at one stage, the analogue computer was doing calculations that were beyond the capabilities of its digital companion.
The chemical control in plants and animals is certainly a function that could be described computer-like. It's just that the problems it can solve are of the non-numerical kind. The OP would need to decide what problem that chemical computer would be designed to solve (it would not be of a 'general purpose' device.
Interesting stuff this is.
Guess who came up with an inkling of the idea of behind what is now the basis for a chemical computer.
In the time of when all chemical reactions were considered to evolve towards equilibrium.
You guessed it - Turing.
https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Alan_Turing.html
See the part under heading " Pattern formation and mathematical biology" about a third of the way down.

Based on the https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Reaction-diffusion.html after the fact, or rather, explained after the fact, non-equilibrium chemical reactions were discovered by Boris Belousov in the 1950's . Since his findings were unexplaineable at the time, he had trouble publishing, which is a shame.
https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3Wkn...o6uco/wiki/Belousov-Zhabotinsky_reaction.html

Chemical computers using these reactions which oscillate between states, and can be considered to thus have wave characteristics, have subsequentially been explored. https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Chemical_computer.html

I guess the closest thing would be cellular automaton - ie Game of Life.

Others are the DNA model, as mentioned.

And of course, ' regular' concentration reactions, such as an example,
https://newatlas.com/chemical-gps/34446/
which would be a one shot deal, but it solves the maze problem quite quickly.
 
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  • #8
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I was thinking that the wiki article suggested untested chemicals etc, whereas the human brain in fact has all the chemical components mapped already. What we essentially gain is a computer with essentially unlimited registers, therefore it can process really really fast. Glucose makes sense to me, and somebody in the know should ask around about this idea. Chemical computers could be one of the next Turing machines, or some kind of video processing thing which will be really really fast, or some kind of future AI which could quite literally be possible in a development cycle if my idea proves correct.

The brain is more than just chemical reactions. There is structure of the neurons and the larger neural networks and these things work in conjunction with the neural transmitters in a manner that we only superficially understand to produce thought.

There are many good resources that help you understand this better though not necessarily at the academic level. Here's one such program that recently aired on NOVA:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/how-does-the-brain-work
 
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  • #9
Tom.G
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There is a six page article covering that in Science, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6408/1252.editor-summary. It's behind a paywall but here is the abstract. They have gone beyond the necessary logic functions and created, AND, NAND, OR, NOR, IMPLY, NIMPLY, XOR, XNOR, all using proteins.

doi 10.1126/science.aat5062
http://science.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aat5062

Building smarter synthetic biological circuits
Synthetic genetic and biological regulatory circuits can enable logic functions to form the basis of biological computing; synthetic biology can also be used to control cell behaviors (see the Perspective by Glass and Alon). Andrews et al. used mathematical models and computer algorithms to combine standardized components and build programmable genetic sequential logic circuits. Such circuits can perform regulatory functions much like the biological checkpoint circuits of living cells. Circuits composed of interacting proteins could be used to bypass gene regulation, interfacing directly with cellular pathways without genome modification. Gao et al. engineered proteases that regulate one another, respond to diverse inputs that include oncogene activation, process signals, and conditionally activate responses such as those leading to cell death. This platform should facilitate development of “smart” therapeutic circuits for future biomedical applications.

Science, this issue p. eaap8987, p. 1252; see also p. 1199

Abstract
Synthetic protein-level circuits could enable engineering of powerful new cellular behaviors. Rational protein circuit design would be facilitated by a composable protein-protein regulation system in which individual protein components can regulate one another to create a variety of different circuit architectures. In this study, we show that engineered viral proteases can function as composable protein components, which can together implement a broad variety of circuit-level functions in mammalian cells. In this system, termed CHOMP (circuits of hacked orthogonal modular proteases), input proteases dock with and cleave target proteases to inhibit their function. These components can be connected to generate regulatory cascades, binary logic gates, and dynamic analog signal-processing functions. To demonstrate the utility of this system, we rationally designed a circuit that induces cell death in response to upstream activators of the Ras oncogene. Because CHOMP circuits can perform complex functions yet be encoded as single transcripts and delivered without genomic integration, they offer a scalable platform to facilitate protein circuit engineering for biotechnological applications.
 
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Is it possible to use simple glucose to design a chemical computer, and therefore reflect the architecture and chemicals of the human brain?
Glucose is not a semiconductor so it can't be used as if it was.
 

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