A single strand of DNA contains more potential computing power than a thousand supercomputers. If DNA segments are used as data bits, trillions of molecular chains can be chemically combined. The result is that computations can be carried out in seconds that would take a supercomputer centuries.

A team led by Chemistry professor Michael C. Pirrung of Duke University has now devised a method of printing DNA on glass chips. This makes using it for computational purposes much easier, and suggests yet another major breakthrough in the journey toward really effective computers.

Without vastly better computers, there is not only a limit to growth of our society, but also, in all likelihood, a limit to survivability. We must be able to create accurately predictive models of our biosphere if we are going to be able to tell when our activities threaten collapse of the biosphere, and only immensely more powerful computers can help us do this.

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