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New computer chip made with DNA could be an AI breakthrough

Published Mar 11th, 2024 6:05PM EDT
human genome dna concept
Image: catalin / Adobe

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A new proof-of-concept DNA-infused computer chip could be the AI breakthrough that we’ve been waiting for. The chip was made using a DNA substrate that can perform calculations and manage big data processing, all in the same component.

Scientists have long discussed the possibility of using DNA-based devices to help push processing to new levels. And in the past, we’ve even seen DNA-based devices being used to encode data on a very small scale. However, this new chip takes things a step further, and uses DNA to process data as well.

The DNA-infused computer chip is covered extensively in a paper published in PLOS One. The researchers involved with the study say that DNA is great at storing information and that it is more compact than most memory hardware we currently have.

MediaTek Dimensity 9200 Front
Tiny chips like this could one day use DNA to provide data storage and processing. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Additionally, they say that DNA is more reliable than our current memory hardware, too. Using DNA as a way to store data has long been proposed as a more effective option than hard drives and even solid-state drives (SSDs). Big companies like Microsoft have even looked at possible ways of using DNA to store huge amounts of data.

But, this chip is the first time that we’ve seen scientists trying to use it to process the data, too, which is what makes it such an enterprising and promising component. The researchers believe that using a DNA-infused computer chip could help make training for future AI models more efficient, as the data would be stored and processed directly on one component.

Scientists have been doing a lot of cool things with DNA lately, including going so far as to make artificial DNA for the first time. Something like that could possibly be utilized further to develop the idea behind this new computer chip concept.

Of course, the chip will need to be scaled up immensely in order to make it useful for AI models. But, the proof-of-concept is there, and it offers a very promising possible future that researchers can dig into and study more to find other ways to improve upon it.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.