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Computer Made of DNA Works Out Prime Factors of 6 and 15

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A DNA strand.

While conventional computers work by passing electricity through tiny on-off switches to perform simple calculations, the new computer relies on the way differently shaped DNA molecules combine.

Credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Researchers at China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University developed a simple computer using molecules of folded DNA that was able to split the numbers 6 and 15 into their prime factors.

The researchers mixed differently shaped DNA molecules in a test tube, and when two different edges joined through a chemical reaction, this was deemed equivalent to a mathematical operation. The resulting shapes were counted to determine the computer's calculations.

The molecules were designed so the computer could combine the numbers 2 and 3 to split 6 into primes, and the numbers 2, 3, 5, and 7 to split 15 into primes.

When factoring 6, around 63% of the molecules ended in shapes that could be made only through reactions corresponding to 2 times 3.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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