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Slime Mold Could Make Memristors For Biocomputers

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A closeup view of the Physarum polycephalum slime mold.

Researchers say this slime mold, which has memory resistance, could be used to perform all the logical functions offered by standard computer components.

Credit: Eye of Science/Science Photo Library

The feeding fronds of the slime Physarum polycephalum have memory resistance, according to University of the West of England researchers. They say the garish yellow slime that grows on rotten leaves and logs one day could be used to build exotic computers.

"Slime mold can be used to perform all the logic functions that conventional computer hardware components can do," says researcher Ella Gale.

Slime mold also has a knack for finding the shortest path to nutrients, and Gale's team is exploring whether this characteristic can be used to design the most efficient circuit patterns for biocomputers.

Memristance was predicted in 1971 by the University of California, Berkeley's Leon Chua.

Although Chua is not convinced of the impact that the mold memristors could have on computer chips of the future, he says the finding underscores how important they are in the biological world.

From New Scientist
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