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Hot Ice computer built

by on04 September 2009


Crystals do the sums

A Bristol
boffin has built a computer out of sodium acetate the chemical which is called “hot ice”.

Sodium acetate is normally flogged in bags which releases heat on a cold day. Andrew Adamatzky from the University of the West of England in Bristol hit on a wizard wheeze to build a computer out of one. His cunning plan was to use the traveling wavefront of crystallisation to perform calculations, rather in the manner of reaction-diffusion computers and the slime mold computer he has also toyed around with. The speed of the wavefront as it moves through a Petri dish and the way it interacts with other wavefronts effectively performs computations.

Data is imputed by triggering nucleation at multiple points in parallel by immersing aluminium wires powdered with sodium acetate into a supersaturated solution in a Petri dish. And or Gates are created using blobs of silicone to steer them around the dishes. (Much like some women use blobs of silicone to steer wealthy men into marrying them. sub.ed.)

His computer has far solved several mazes and a number of other computing problems although is yet to play a convincing game of Counterstrike. It also has a tendency to hang but hell you get that on the big jobs.

Last modified on 04 September 2009
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