James Ellobogen clarifies nanoprocessor speed potential and projects shrinking it by 1000 times and Aubrey de Grey on the telomere research

Foresight nanodot – James Ellobogen discusses the programmable nanoprocessor work

Nextbigfuture prior coverage of the Harvard and Mitre work indicated it could have a speed of 2 terahertz.

The supplementary material for our paper in Nature does mention the potential for 2 THz switching, but that is for individual nanodevices. That may be misleading, though, if one applies this figure to the entire system. As part of our design simulation process at MITRE, we calculate that with the present devices and the present interconnect strategy, the entire system probably can only be accelerated to operate at about 100 MHz. This is because of all the intrinsic resistances and capacitances in the interconnects and the way they combine in a tiny network. From our point of view this 100 MHz rate of operation will be OK, though, because it is well suited to a tiny controller. The 100 MHz rate is faster than most of the other tiny systems we want to sense and control.

Some better news, though, is that we do not feel quite so constrained when it comes to making the system much smaller in area and much more dense. We calculate that it is probably possible to scale the footprint of the system down by a factor of 600 to 1200 (i.e., 1000 in round numbers). That would provide the present computational functionality of our nanoprocessor tile in a footprint of only approximately 1 sq. micron, instead of the present 1000 sq. micron (e.g., 1 micron by 1 micron, instead of approx. 30 micron by 30 micron)

James Ellobogen gave a presentation in 1998 about molecular computers at the sixth Foresight conference I was fortunate enough to have attended that talk and conference.

Ellobogen said – “There will be nanocomputers and they will be molecular electronic computers.” So now there are.

For me [Ellobogen], though, the journey to the realization of the first nanocomputer begins back in 1986, when I first heard Eric on public radio talking about nanocomputers. It took almost 25 years from that initial point of inspiration, but I believe that we have taken a major step on the road to engineered nanosystems governed by other engineered nanosystems. I hope that you find the potential for this innovation to be as exciting as I do.

Aubrey de Grey comments on Telomeres and aging – from an email

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute article in Nature. The same group that “reversed aging” in mouse which they had cause to show premature aging.

Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise

Aubrey – It’s not a very important paper. The presence of short telomeres makes cells unhappy, and they respond by changing their behavioour in various ways, including depression of mitochondrial activity. That tells us nothing at all about what happens in the absence of short telomeres, which is what we need to know for normal aging.

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