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Biology now plays big role in developing computers

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  • Ian Pitchford
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2002
      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
      companies.

      Now, the two fields are working not just to make computer science serve biology
      better but to use biology to make better computers.

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