16 Apr '12, 2pm

Scientists build energy-efficient computer out of crabs

Scientists build energy-efficient computer out of crabs

Here is an amazing example of humans piggybacking on a natural phenomenon to create an incredibly clever system: crab-based computing . A crab-based computer starts with swarms of crabs. These swarms include hundreds of thousands of crabs that, individually, run every which way but that, as a group, progress in one direction. Even more incredible — when two swarms collide, they merge and start moving along the vector of their combined velocity (hellloooo, high school physics!). So what does this have to do with computing? A team of researchers set up a system where crab behavior would provide the basic logic on which computers work. For instance, a computer might need to take inputs X and Y, and output the result “X or Y” — a 1 if either X or Y is 1, and a 0 otherwise. Crabs can do that : Okay, that sort of looks like a plumbing diagram showing the progress of hair clots d...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/scientists-build-energy-efficient-c...

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