'Liquid Brain' May Boost Processing Power

Jan. 12, 2010

When I was learning complex mathematics in grade school I remember my grandpa telling me that calculators weren't as good as brain power. At the time I thought he was just old-fashioned and would rather cipher numbers on paper. After all, how could we compete with the speed of the calculator?

When I was learning complex mathematics in grade school I remember my grandpa telling me that calculators weren't as good as brain power. At the time I thought he was just old-fashioned and would rather cipher numbers on paper. After all, how could we compete with the speed of the calculator?

Speed is good. But our brains are still superior at processing the information. My grandpa thought so and apparently researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom think so too. In fact, they have developed a new kind of information processing technology inspired by chemical processes in living systems.

Dr. Maurits de Planque, a biochemist, and Dr. Klaus-Peter Zauner, a computer scientist, at the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) will adapt brain processes to a 'wet' information processing scenario by setting up chemicals in a tube that behave like the transistors in a computer chip

"What we are developing here is a very crude, minimal liquid brain and the final computer will be 'wet' just like our brain," says Zauner. "People realize now that the best information processes we have are in our heads and as we are increasingly finding that silicon has its limitations in terms of information processing, we need to explore other approaches, which is exactly what we are doing here."

To learn more about this project, click here.

Traci Purdum,
Senior Digital Editor

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