Computers scientists are poised to play a key role in the development of nanotechnology, writes British Computer Society member professor Alan Oxley. Computer scientists can offer the simulations, computer graphics, and other services needed to create passive nanostructures, then nanostructures that perform primitive functions, and then programmable miniscule machines, also called nanites. Moreover, computer scientists can lay the theoretical groundwork for miniscule machines that are capable of creating other nanites that work collaboratively toward a common goal.
The building of such miniscule machines is predicted to begin around 2020, and computer science will need to continue to mature to make this a reality. Software agents, networking, and algorithms modeled on collaborative animal behavior will be helpful for programming and controlling the armies of miniscule machines with simple rules. Also, genetic algorithms will be helpful for addressing problems over successive generations.
However, computer scientists will have to look at the issue in reverse to deal with nanites that have mutated.
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