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Cameron and Tracey Hughes

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Biomolecular device using self-assembled DNA nanostructures?

October 30, 2009

As I sit at my computer with it multicores considering the advantages of parallelism, faster computers, better performance, a strange feeling comes over me, 'Haven't I heard this before?'We are constantly inundated with the idea of 'better performance' or 'the most current' whether it be a computer, a complier, an operating system, a library, a development tool, or whatever, there is always a promise of something better, something current, something that will speed up the development process.

As a professional you must increase your skill level to accommodate it, 'what is the learning curve for that new complier, that new API, development environment, operating system and of course all of those cores just setting there with nothing to process, I must find a way to utilize them'. It is demanding being a professional, you can't lag behind this stuff. So we search for help, tools, and workshops and conferences to bring us up to speed in a hurry. You know 'got to meet those deadlines, and it would be great if I had some new mojo to throw in that system so I can get better performance'.

A few decades ago a similar problem was described:

";Since its early days, most research in computer science was concerned in one way or another with two problems:

1. Computers are too slow 2. Programmers are too slow";

That was stated 22 years ago by Ehud Shapiro in his book Concurrent Prolog Volume 1. This is a book of collected papers on, yep you guessed it, research related to ICOT. Will we just continue to develop new computers and then beat ourselves up trying to use them? And I mean just use them, let alone use them efficiently. How can we keep this up! How practical is it to get on top of these new technologies with the approach of attending a workshop, reading a book, reading a blog? What about truly radical stuff. What about new paradigms of computing, what happens when they become mainstream.

Well, what's coming down the pike, atomic, molecular and quantum computing? Some are 'non-silicon-based'. Some extend von Neumann architecture, others are radically non-von. Now what? They will require new programming models, new algorithms and new languages. They are not intended to replace silicon-based computers. They maybe better but better when used for certain domains and applications. Considering the state of the contract programming, one way to survive it may be to become an 'expert' in programming using one of the new upcoming paradigms. But how in the world do you become an expert in programming a 'biomolecular device using self-assembled DNA nanostructures'? I am waiting for that workshop!

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