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Aspuru-Guzik-Molecular Computing for ChemRxiv-2019-11-04.pdf (1.58 MB)
A Molecular Computing Approach to Solving Optimization Problems via Programmable Microdroplet Arrays
Preprints are manuscripts made publicly available before they have been submitted for formal peer review and publication. They might contain new research findings or data. Preprints can be a draft or final version of an author's research but must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission.
The search for novel
forms of computing that show advantages as alternatives to the dominant
von-Neuman model-based computing is important as it will enable different
classes of problems to be solved. By using droplets and room-temperature
processes, molecular computing is a promising research direction with potential
biocompatibility and cost advantages. In this work, we present a new approach
for computation using a network of chemical reactions taking place within an
array of spatially localized droplets whose contents represent bits of
information. Combinatorial optimization problems are mapped to an Ising
Hamiltonian and encoded in the form of intra- and inter- droplet interactions.
The problem is solved by initiating the chemical reactions within the droplets
and allowing the system to reach a steady-state; in effect, we are annealing
the effective spin system to its ground state. We propose two implementations
of the idea, which we ordered in terms of increasing complexity. First, we
introduce a hybrid classical-molecular computer where droplet properties are
measured and fed into a classical computer. Based on the given optimization
problem, the classical computer then directs further reactions via optical or
electrochemical inputs. A simulated model of the hybrid classical-molecular
computer is used to solve boolean satisfiability and a lattice protein model.
Second, we propose architectures for purely molecular computers that rely on
pre-programmed nearest-neighbour inter-droplet communication via energy or mass
The University of Toronto has filed a provisional application or a US patent based on the technology described in this paper, naming S.Y.G., P.F., Y.C., T.W., C.J.F., A.S., L.C., N.G., R.H.G., and A.A.-G. as inventors.