Calculating Bacteria: Real Computer Bugs?

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Computer logic usually consists of electronic switches, but recently scientists have been exploring alternative means for conducting calculations. A group of scientists reports in the Journal of Biological Engineering that they have created specially modified E. coli bacteria capable of performing one specific type of calculation — a puzzle known as the "pancake flipping problem."

Karmella Haynes, one of the researchers, discusses the prospects for biologically based computing, and ways in which calculating bacteria might be useful.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from