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Molecular computers are natural or artificial systems in which macromolecules individually mediate critical information-processing functions. Biological organisms are the naturally occurring examples. Their information-processing virtuosity traces ultimately to the fact that macromolecules, most notably proteins, can recognize specific molecular objects in their environment in a manner that uses shape and depends sensitively on physiochemical context. The ultimate capabilities of this shape-based mode of computing and the technological implications that this mode may have are discussed. Basic principles of molecular computing are introduced and some ways that they might combine to yield new approaches to information technology are considered. Specifically, signal-integrating, optomolecular and neuromolecular computer architectures are described.