'Computer Bug': Genetically altered bacteria for data storage

US researchers have created 'living computers' by genetically altering bacteria. The findings of the research demonstrate that computing in living cells is feasible, opening the door to a number of applications including data storage and as a tool for manipulating genes for genetic engineering. A research team from the biology and the mathematics departments of Davidson College, North Carolina and Missouri Western State University, Missouri, USA added genes to Escherichia coli bacteria, creating bacterial computers able to solve a classic mathematical puzzle, known as the burnt pancake problem.

The burnt pancake problem involves a stack of pancakes of different sizes, each of which has a golden and a burnt side. The aim is to sort the stack so the largest pancake is on the bottom and all pancakes are golden side up. Each flip reverses the order and the orientation (i.e. which side of the pancake is facing up) of one or several consecutive pancakes. The aim is to stack them properly in the fewest number of flips. via Eurekalert.

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