Biology now plays big role in developing computers
- Biology now plays big role in developing computers
Shelley Emling - Cox Washington Bureau
Sunday, March 31, 2002
New York --- About five years ago, IBM senior technologist Kerry Bernstein was
chatting at his gym with a neurosurgeon friend.
''He started talking about how the brain works, and then I started talking
about how the microchip works, and it just dawned on us that the neuron and the
transistor have the same underlying physics,'' said Bernstein.
Now, Bernstein is studying neurons and brain structure to help IBM design a new
generation of supercomputers, to be embodied in a machine called Blue Gene
that's expected to be the world's fastest when it's completed in 2005.
Biology is driving the development of computers in more ways than one.
Biological discoveries, especially the mapping of the human genome, created
oceanic volumes of data. That nurtured a convergence of biology and computer
Now, the two fields are working not just to make computer science serve biology
better but to use biology to make better computers.