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Wet processing system postulated

Researchers at the University of Southampton are developing information processing technology based on the chemical processes found in living systems.

Dr Maurits de Planque and Dr Klaus-Peter Zauner at the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) have received €1.8million from the European Union's Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Proactive Initiatives.
The two aim to adapt brain processes to a 'wet' information processing scenario by setting up chemicals in a tube which behave like the transistors in a computer chip. "What we are developing is a crude, minimal liquid brain and the final computer will be 'wet', just like our brain," said Dr Zauner. "People realise now that the best information processes we have are in our heads and as we are increasingly finding that silicon has its limitations in terms of information processing, we need to explore other approaches."
The project has three complementary objectives. The first is to engineer lipid coated water droplets containing an excitable chemical medium and then to connect the droplets into networks which support communication through chemical signals. The second objective is to design information processing architectures based on the droplets and to demonstrate purposeful information processing in droplet architectures. The third objective is to establish and explore the potential and limitations of droplet architectures.
The three year project is being coordinated by Friedrich Schiller University Jena and also involves the University of the West of England and the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Graham Pitcher

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