A programmable hybrid digital chemical information processor based on the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction

Abhishek Sharma, Marcus Tze-Kiat Ng, Juan Manuel Parrilla Gutierrez, Yibin Jiang, Leroy Cronin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The exponential growth of the power of modern digital computers is based upon the miniaturization of vast nanoscale arrays of electronic switches, but this will be eventually constrained by fabrication limits and power dissipation. Chemical processes have the potential to scale beyond these limits by performing computations through chemical reactions, yet the lack of well-defined programmability limits their scalability and performance. Here, we present a hybrid digitally programmable chemical array as a probabilistic computational machine that uses chemical oscillators using Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction partitioned in interconnected cells as a computational substrate. This hybrid architecture performs efficient computation by distributing information between chemical and digital domains together with inbuilt error correction logic. The efficiency is gained by combining digital logic with probabilistic chemical logic based on nearest neighbour interactions and hysteresis effects. We demonstrated the computational capabilities of our hybrid processor by implementing one- and two-dimensional Chemical Cellular Automata demonstrating emergent dynamics of life-like entities called Chemits. Additionally, we demonstrate hybrid probabilistic logic as a viable logic for solving combinatorial optimization problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1984
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2024


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