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Supercomputing

Brain-Inspired Computer Made From Duroquinone 77

hasu notes that scientists at the National Institute for Materials Science at Tsukuba in Japan have created a device, consisting of 17 duroquinone molecules on a gold surface, that can in theory encode 4.3 billion outcomes. The "device" does not constitute a practical computer, since it requires both a scanning tunneling microscope and operation near absolute zero. A single duroquinone is surrounded by sixteen others, and weak chemical bonds allow a pulse to the central molecule to shift all seventeen molecules in a variety of ways. Each duroquinone has four different "settings," so a single pulse can have 4^16 possible outcomes. As a demonstration the researchers docked 8 other nano-devices to their 17-molecule computer. It is unclear how well they have characterized the inputs that result in 4.3 billion different outputs. They are working on a 3D design that would have 1,024 duroquinone molecules surrounding a central one.

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