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Researchers in England are studying computers made from fungi

from Valentine Sattler
Studies are currently being conducted in England on how to perform simple calculations using the mushroom mycelium. It seems that it can actually perform simple logical operations and even store information.

Modern computing chips are usually made of silicon. But semiconductors are not the only way to do the calculations. A recent report from the magazine popular science He shows that apparently simple computers can be copied with mushrooms. Therefore, the corresponding search is ongoing Unconventional Computing Lab University of the West of England.

account with fungi

The focus is not on the “mushroom” visible to humans, which is actually part of the whole mushroom. Instead, it has to do with the associated structure found in the soil – the mycelium. This usually forms a kind of underground root network, which is deliberately planted in the unconventional computing lab. This is then used to perform investigations that study, for example, how the mycelium interacts with and transmits electrical impulses across the network.

Thus, the mycelium can store information. It is also said to communicate via action potentials similar to those of neurons. Potential changes should make it possible to simulate simple arithmetic operations by assigning Boolean functions such as “and” or “or” to the distinct capabilities. The hope is that the research can create structures that can perform computations or simulate neurons like computers. For now at least, the whole thing is of course not in competition with today’s PCs: There’s no mention of computing power in the report, so it’s likely to be minimal.

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Of course, such approaches are still exciting, especially since the research here appears to be only beginning. In the future, however, things should go further: in the Unconventional Computing Laboratory, it is assumed that it will soon be possible to produce processors somewhat more complex than fungi, for example to take on simple control tasks. In addition, it is hoped that there will be advantages over the previous “dead” arithmetic units. Specifically, fault tolerance through self-renewal and recombination through the natural growth of the fungus has been mentioned.

source: popular science via tom devices