By Topic

Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2005
Author(s): Forbes, N.
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: General Topics for Engineers (Math, Science & Engineering)
  • Print

Abstract

As computers and the tasks they perform become increasingly complex, researchers are looking to nature -- as model and as metaphor -- for inspiration. The organization and behavior of biological organisms present scientists with an invitation to reinvent computing for the complex tasks of the future. In Imitation of Life, Nancy Forbes surveys the emerging field of biologically inspired computing, looking at some of the most impressive and influential examples of this fertile synergy.Forbes points out that the influence of biology on computing goes back to the early days of computer science -- John von Neumann, the architect of the first digital computer, used the human brain as the model for his design. Inspired by von Neumann and other early visionaries, as well as by her work on the "Ultrascale Computing" project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Forbes describes the exciting potential of these revolutionary new technologies. She identifies three strains of biologically inspired computing: the use of biology as a metaphor or inspiration for the development of algorithms; the construction of information processing systems that use biological materials or are modeled on biological processes, or both; and the effort to understand how biological organisms "compute," or process information.Forbes then shows us how current researchers are using these approaches. In successive chapters, she looks at artificial neural networks; evolutionary and genetic algorithms, which search for the "fittest" among a generation of solutions; cellular automata; artificial life -- not just a simulation, but "alive" in the internal ecosystem of the computer; DNA computation, which uses the encoding capability of DNA to devise algorithms; self-assembly and its potential use in nanotechnology; amorphous computing, modeled on the kind of cooperation seen in a colony of cells or a swarm of bees; computer immune systems; bio-hardware and how bioelectronics compares to silicon; and the "computational" properties of cells.

  •   Click to expandTable of Contents

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Front Matter

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): i - xvii
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half Title, Title, Copyright, Dedication, Contents, Preface View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Artificial Neural Networks

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 1 - 11
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: A Logical Calculus for the Brain, A New Field Evolves, How Artificial Neural Nets Work, Why Artificial Neural Nets Are Useful, Artificial Neural Nets and Digital Computers, Artificial Neural Nets and Artificial Intelligence View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Evolutionary Algorithms

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 13 - 24
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Evolution as Metaphor, Digital Darwinism, Genetic Algorithms and Genetic Programs, Survival of the Fittest Solution, Gameplay Evolution for Art's Sake View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Celullar Automata

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 25 - 36
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Von Neumann's Automaton, The Turing Machine, The Logic of Biological Systems, The Kinematic Self-Replicating Automaton, Cellular Automata, The Game of Life and Beyond, Are Cellular Automata Really Useful? View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Artificial Life

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 37 - 50
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Life in Silico, Non-Carbon-Based Life?, Origins of Alife, Alife and the Individual Entity, Alife and Emergent Behavior, Life on Tierra, Life among the Avidians, Alife versus Life Itself View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      DNA Computation

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 51 - 65
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Gene-Based Computer, The Traveling Salesman, The Fledgling Field Advances, Desktop DNA?, DNA Computing in Vivo: The Ciliate, Whither DNA Computers? View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Biomolecular Self-Assembly

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 67 - 81
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Self-Assembled Nanostructures, Nanomanufacturing, Self-Assembly from the Inside Out, Self-Assembly versus Chemical Synthesis, SAMS and Scaffolds, Self-Assembly and Biocomputation, Self-Assembly with DNA, Smaller and Smaller View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Amorphous Computing

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 83 - 95
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Tackling Fault Tolerance, Amorphous Computing, Teramac, Amorphous Software View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Computer Immune Systems

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 97 - 111
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Can Biology Suggest a Better Way?, Inside the Immune System, Digital Immunology, Variations on a Theme, Recognizing Self and Nonself in Computers, Catching Unwanted Intruders, Distributed Change Detection, Virus Hunting View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Biologically Inspired Hardware

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 113 - 138
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: A Protein for Data Storage, Volumetric Memory Devices with Bacteriorhodopsin, Bacteriorhodopsin-Based Associative Holographic Memory, Bacteriorhodopsin and Optical Memory, Harnessing the Sun's Rays in Arizona, Biology on a Chip, Evolvable Hardware, Why Use EHW?, How EHW Works, Applications of EHW, Erratic Behavior, Embryonic Hardware, The Biowatch, An Immune System for Chips, Whither Computer Hardware?, Neurally Inspired Hardware View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Biology Through the Lens of Computer Science

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 139 - 154
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Genetic Switch of Phage Lambda, The Molecular Workings of the Phage Switch, Synthetic Cellular Networks, Toggles and Oscillators, Microbial Engineering, The Spice of Life, Digitally Inspired Biology View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Epilogue

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 155 - 158
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      As computers and the tasks they perform become increasingly complex, researchers are looking to nature -- as model and as metaphor -- for inspiration. The organization and behavior of biological organisms present scientists with an invitation to reinvent computing for the complex tasks of the future. In Imitation of Life, Nancy Forbes surveys the emerging field of biologically inspired computing, looking at some of the most impressive and influential examples of this fertile synergy.Forbes points out that the influence of biology on computing goes back to the early days of computer science -- John von Neumann, the architect of the first digital computer, used the human brain as the model for his design. Inspired by von Neumann and other early visionaries, as well as by her work on the "Ultrascale Computing" project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Forbes describes the exciting potential of these revolutionary new technologies. She identifies three strains of biologically inspired computing: the use of biology as a metaphor or inspiration for the development of algorithms; the construction of information processing systems that use biological materials or are modeled on biological processes, or both; and the effort to understand how biological organisms "compute," or process information.Forbes then shows us how current researchers are using these approaches. In successive chapters, she looks at artificial neural networks; evolutionary and genetic algorithms, which search for the "fittest" among a generation of solutions; cellular automata; artificial life -- not just a simulation, but "alive" in the internal ecosystem of the computer; DNA computation, which uses the encoding capability of DNA to devise algorithms; self-assembly and its potential use in nanotechnology; amorphous computing, modeled on the kind of cooperation seen in a colony of cells or a swarm of bees; computer immune systems; bio-hardware and how bioelectronics compares to silicon; and the "computational" properties of cells. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Notes

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 159 - 162
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      As computers and the tasks they perform become increasingly complex, researchers are looking to nature -- as model and as metaphor -- for inspiration. The organization and behavior of biological organisms present scientists with an invitation to reinvent computing for the complex tasks of the future. In Imitation of Life, Nancy Forbes surveys the emerging field of biologically inspired computing, looking at some of the most impressive and influential examples of this fertile synergy.Forbes points out that the influence of biology on computing goes back to the early days of computer science -- John von Neumann, the architect of the first digital computer, used the human brain as the model for his design. Inspired by von Neumann and other early visionaries, as well as by her work on the "Ultrascale Computing" project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Forbes describes the exciting potential of these revolutionary new technologies. She identifies three strains of biologically inspired computing: the use of biology as a metaphor or inspiration for the development of algorithms; the construction of information processing systems that use biological materials or are modeled on biological processes, or both; and the effort to understand how biological organisms "compute," or process information.Forbes then shows us how current researchers are using these approaches. In successive chapters, she looks at artificial neural networks; evolutionary and genetic algorithms, which search for the "fittest" among a generation of solutions; cellular automata; artificial life -- not just a simulation, but "alive" in the internal ecosystem of the computer; DNA computation, which uses the encoding capability of DNA to devise algorithms; self-assembly and its potential use in nanotechnology; amorphous computing, modeled on the kind of cooperation seen in a colony of cells or a swarm of bees; computer immune systems; bio-hardware and how bioelectronics compares to silicon; and the "computational" properties of cells. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Index

      Forbes, N.
      Imitation of Life:How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

      Page(s): 163 - 171
      Copyright Year: 2005

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      As computers and the tasks they perform become increasingly complex, researchers are looking to nature -- as model and as metaphor -- for inspiration. The organization and behavior of biological organisms present scientists with an invitation to reinvent computing for the complex tasks of the future. In Imitation of Life, Nancy Forbes surveys the emerging field of biologically inspired computing, looking at some of the most impressive and influential examples of this fertile synergy.Forbes points out that the influence of biology on computing goes back to the early days of computer science -- John von Neumann, the architect of the first digital computer, used the human brain as the model for his design. Inspired by von Neumann and other early visionaries, as well as by her work on the "Ultrascale Computing" project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Forbes describes the exciting potential of these revolutionary new technologies. She identifies three strains of biologically inspired computing: the use of biology as a metaphor or inspiration for the development of algorithms; the construction of information processing systems that use biological materials or are modeled on biological processes, or both; and the effort to understand how biological organisms "compute," or process information.Forbes then shows us how current researchers are using these approaches. In successive chapters, she looks at artificial neural networks; evolutionary and genetic algorithms, which search for the "fittest" among a generation of solutions; cellular automata; artificial life -- not just a simulation, but "alive" in the internal ecosystem of the computer; DNA computation, which uses the encoding capability of DNA to devise algorithms; self-assembly and its potential use in nanotechnology; amorphous computing, modeled on the kind of cooperation seen in a colony of cells or a swarm of bees; computer immune systems; bio-hardware and how bioelectronics compares to silicon; and the "computational" properties of cells. View full abstract»