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Bacteria can do maths. WTF.

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paulthebuilder
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2009/07/24 23:48:49 (permalink)
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Bacteria can do maths. WTF.

http://www.guardian.co....jul/24/bacteria-computer



A team of US scientists have engineered bacteria that can solve complex mathematical problems faster than anything made from silicon.
The research, published today in the Journal of Biological Engineering, proves that bacteria can be used to solve a puzzle known as the Hamiltonian Path Problem. Imagine you want to tour the 10 biggest cities in the UK, starting in London (number 1) and finishing in Bristol (number 10). The solution to the Hamiltonian Path Problem is the the shortest possible route you can take.
This simple problem is surprisingly difficult to solve. There are over 3.5 million possible routes to choose from, and a regular computer must try them out one at a time to find the shortest. Alternatively, a computer made from millions of bacteria can look at every route simultaneously. The biological world also has other advantages. As time goes by, a bacterial computer will actually increase in power as the bacteria reproduce.
Programming such a computer is no easy task, however. The researchers coded a simplified version of the problem, using just three cities, by modifying the DNA of Escherichia coli bacteria. The cities were represented by a combination of genes causing the bacteria to glow red or green, and the possible routes between the cities were explored by the random shuffling of DNA. Bacteria producing the correct answer glowed both colours, turning them yellow.
The experiment worked, and the scientists checked the yellow bacteria's answer by examining their DNA sequence. By using additional genetic differences such as resistance to particular antibiotics, the team believe their method could be expanded to solve problems involving more cities.....


Need to sneak a bag full of these into my maths exams.
post edited by rightyho - 2009/07/24 23:51:31
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    erekose
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/24 23:54:14 (permalink)
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    I think I'm going to wait until I'm sober to read that properly, but on the face of it that seems extremely interesting.  Microorganisms are fascinating!
    #2
    Cardifflad
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/24 23:57:40 (permalink)
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    I think you need to go to MA...Maths Anonymous

    Interesting read though
    #3
    essex_chris
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:02:53 (permalink)
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    Very interesting in theory but i wonder how far this will actually go into practise. Let alone thikning about how to program one of the sodding things.

    Can you imagine the tech support on that line?

    Have you tried killing them all off and then regrowing and reconfiguring the DNA sequences?

    Awesome pic, but Tony you're not doing yourself many favours posting up tips on preventing the gag reflex and then a picture of a guy touching his toes - Ak
    #4
    paulthebuilder
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:03:39 (permalink)
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    Cardifflad

    I think you need to go to MA...Maths Anonymous

    Interesting read though


    In the doghouse tonight, mate. A definite integral proper got the better of me - no idea how to even approach the bugger, so threw a paddy fit, which included slinging an empty mug across the floor which did the obligatory and sub-divided (whoops) into tiny fragments, half of which went behind the washing machine. Grr.

    Proper peed off as I'm now STUCK. :(


    #5
    swordfish
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:03:51 (permalink)
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    bacteria powerd pc, just pour in some activia to upgrade it
    #6
    paulthebuilder
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:05:18 (permalink)
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    Waiting for the Yakult MSc Maths version to come out.
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    Cardifflad
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:11:12 (permalink)
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    rightyho

    Cardifflad

    I think you need to go to MA...Maths Anonymous

    Interesting read though


    In the doghouse tonight, mate. A definite integral proper got the better of me - no idea how to even approach the bugger, so threw a paddy fit, which included slinging an empty mug across the floor which did the obligatory and sub-divided (whoops) into tiny fragments, half of which went behind the washing machine. Grr.

    Proper peed off as I'm now STUCK. :(


    I admire you for being so passionate about Maths. It was my worst subject in school by far ha ha


    #8
    paulthebuilder
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:13:49 (permalink)
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    It's kinda addictive now mate.

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    sillynarbie
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:18:18 (permalink)
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    rightyho

    Cardifflad

    I think you need to go to MA...Maths Anonymous

    Interesting read though


    In the doghouse tonight, mate. A definite integral proper got the better of me - no idea how to even approach the bugger, so threw a paddy fit, which included slinging an empty mug across the floor which did the obligatory and sub-divided (whoops) into tiny fragments, half of which went behind the washing machine. Grr.

    Proper peed off as I'm now STUCK. :(


    Whats the integral?:)
    #10
    paulthebuilder
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:27:11 (permalink)
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    It's an assignment question so can't post it mate.
    Basically a volume of solid of revolution question - I understand the rules governing this, but it's a trig function that I think needs to be solved by "backwards substitution" after using a double angle formula.

    And there I'm stuck as there's only one backwards substitution in the actual course book as an example.

    Will dive into my Princeton Calculus Lifesaver book tomorrow. This is defo the discriminator question in the assignment paper. :(


    post edited by rightyho - 2009/07/25 00:30:56
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    sillynarbie
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:31:49 (permalink)
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    Backwards substitution? What's that? The chain rule? You could always PM me if you like, I'd give you a hint rather than solving it for you as I don't believe that'd be very useful for you. You could always post a similar question and I could give hints for that. Everyone gets help on their assignments mate, I once went to my lecturer and showed him my attempt at his coursework and asked him for some help and he spent 30 mins with me so I could do it.
    post edited by sillynarbie - 2009/07/25 00:35:08
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    paulthebuilder
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    Re:Bacteria can do maths. WTF. 2009/07/25 00:41:39 (permalink)
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    sillynarbie

    Backwards substitution? What's that?


    EDIT - I've confused myself now. :(
    post edited by rightyho - 2009/07/25 00:43:08
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