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Calculating Bacteria: Real Computer Bugs?

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Calculating Bacteria: Real Computer Bugs?

Science

Calculating Bacteria: Real Computer Bugs?

Calculating Bacteria: Real Computer Bugs?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90769103/90769095" 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.