The Internet at the Speed of Thought

Scientists Create Functional “Living and Breathing” Supercomputer

at1:56 pm | By

It’s Alive…It’s Alive!

Typically, when we think of supercomputers, we think of enormous machines taking up entire rooms in laboratories across the planet, run by thousands of processors and scientists constantly monitoring as the computers work out complicated scientific and mathematic functions.

But what if a supercomputer were the size of a book? And what if its energy source were the same enzymes and proteins that make life possible in living creatures?

It sounds like the plot of a sci-fi novel, but this is real life, thanks to a dedicated group of researchers from across the globe who have worked for more than a decade to bring this biological supercomputer to life.

supercomputer intro

Source: Twitter @ATEN_ANZ

The bio-supercomputer runs on the same proteins as our bodies…

Over 10 years ago, Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at McGill University in Montreal Dan Nicolau, Sr. and his son Dan, Jr. began working on a model biological supercomputer that used basic proteins to function.

supercomputer 1

Source: Twitter @EllimSluouf

Instead of using countless processors and large amounts of electricity to function, the Nicolaus, who worked in conjunction with researchers from the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany, designed a model that runs partially on ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), the same substance that provides energy to the cells in our body.

supercomputer 2

Source: Twitter @nikwillore/ @xA_T_Px