Scientists use virus to make faster computers

Scientists have successfully developed a ‘biological templating’ method that could lead to making of lightning quick supercomputers of tomorrow.

Researchers Desmond Loke, Griffin Clausen, Jacqueline Ohmura, Tow-Chong Chong, and Angela Belcher developed a method to “genetically” engineer a better type of memory using a virus. This memory technology uses a material that can reversibly switch between amorphous and crystalline states. The new method using virus could lead to unprecedented advances in computer speed and efficiency.

The study, published in the journal Applied Nano Materials, is the result of a collaboration of institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

In a groundbreaking study, the researchers have found a way to overcome the millisecond time delays which occur from the transfer and storage of information between a traditional random access memory (RAM) chip and hard drive.

In order to overcome this major roadblock, the research team applied tiny wire technology. The traditional process of making tiny wires can increase power consumption. The rise in temperature up to 720 K would cause the binary-type material to separate.
The researchers showed that memory can be achieved by using the M13 bacteriophage—a kind of virus—a low-temperature construction of tiny germanium-tin-oxide wires. “This possibility leads the way to the elimination of the millisecond storage and transfer delays needed to progress modern computing,” said Loke from SUTD.

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