The building blocks of life, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), can be used for computational advantage, posits Dr. James Banal, postdoctoral research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Biological Engineering, in the Bathe Lab.
“I work on the wackiest things in computing and storage right now, which is quantum computing and DNA data storage,” says James.
From ultra-dense, ultra-long storage of digital data (think: storing exabytes for fifty years) to building a 'frozen zoo' or 'species time capsule' to preserve living components of our planet in case of catastrophe, DNA storage and computing leverages the life within all of us to improve not only our lives, but those who will inherit our future Earth.
02:16 Entering Mark Bathe’s Lab
03:50 Compressing a datacenter into a sugar cube
06:15 Writing DNA data
08:17 Archiving data for decades
09:49 How data is stored and accessed with DNA
14:22 An advantage: High replication
15:28 Working on ‘super hard’ problems
16:30 Commercializing DNA storage
18:06 Evolving a PhD research statement
19:51 Ten-Year-Old James: “You’re crazy!”
20:45 Counting cells for Mom and Dad
23:26 On failure, quitting, and the low points
27:22 Abraham Lincoln and being skeptical of a positive signal
31:08 Applying machine learning to DNA datasets
33:35 Who may buy this
34:45 ‘Datageddon’ and the post-silicon world
39:44 Storing the world’s annual data in a cubic meter
42:17 When will we see DNA computing deployed?
45:25 Taking a snapshot of all species in the world
46:33 ELI5: Never have to delete anything again
49:12 The ‘Frozen Zoo’, ‘Frozen Ark’, and Australian wildfires
53:59 Final points