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Computer Building Blocks Made Using Slime Mold

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Physarum polycephalum uses networks of interconnected tubes to span its environment and absorb nutrients.

Researchers have created logic units that can process information from the slime mold Physarum polycephalum.

Credit: E&T magazine

University of the West of England's Andrew Adamatzky and Bauhaus University's Theresa Schubert have constructed logic units from the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to process information. The slime mold exploits networks of interconnected tubes to span its environment and absorb nutrients.

The researchers have demonstrated the slime mold can carry out XOR or NOR Boolean logic operations, based on Boolean algebra.

They were able to use a slime mold network as a biological lab-on-a-chip device. "The slime mold-based gates are non-electronic, simple, and inexpensive, and several gates can be realized simultaneously at the sites where protoplasmic tubes merge," say Adamatzky and Schubert.

The research offers a new way to build microfluidic devices for processing environmental or medical samples on a very small scale for testing and diagnostics. The researchers say arrays of the logic gates could be chained together to create a slime mold computer that carries out binary operations, while the extension to a much larger network of slime mold tubes could process nanoparticles and execute sophisticated Boolean logic operations of the kind used by computer circuitry.

From E&T Magazine
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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