Andrew Herbert's presentation

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CEO of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Andrew Herbert's presentation at the Cambridge Phenomenon Conference

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  • Clear reference to Luca
  • Dec. 23, 1947. John Bardeen and Walter Brattain show the first working transistor.
    Sep. 1958. Jack Kilby builds the first integrated circuit.
    Dec. 24, 2009. Working transistor made of a single molecule.
    <10 iterations of Moore’s Law left! The race is on for molecular scale integrated circuits.

  • By programmed self-assembly
  • We need a magical material where the pieces are pre-programmed to fit into to each other.

    At the molecular scale many such materials exist; let’s pick one…
  • DNA in each human cell:
    3 billion base pairs
    2 meters long, 2nm thick
    folded into a 6mm ball
    750 MegaBytes

    A huge amount for a cell
    Every time a cell replicates it has to copy 2 meters of DNA reliably.
    To get a feeling for the scale disparity, compute:
    DNA in human body
    10 trillion cells
    133 Astronomical Units long
    7.5 OctaBytes


  • Sensing
    Reacting to forces
    Binding to molecules
    Actuating
    Releasing molecules
    Producing forces
    Constructing
    Chassis
    Growth
    Computing
    Signal Processing
    Decision Making

    Nucleic Acids can do all this and interface to biology
  • Visual DSD - A Strand Displacement Simulator Matthew Lakin, Simon Youssef, Andrew Phillips, Microsoft Research

    Design and simulate a DNA sequence ‘in silico’

    MSRC has pioneered new tools that allow researchers to write DNA code. They can design the program they wish to run, simulate the effect it will have and debug the design.
  • Web sites can take DNA specifications and get them synthesized. Vials can arrive on your doorstep by mail order in as little as 24 hours.
  • Arrives dried, add water, do experiments.

    DNA Programming in the kitchen sink, no special tools required.
  • An automaton sequentially reading the string PPAP2B, GSTP1, PIM1, HPS (known cancer indicators) and sequentially cutting the DNA hairpin until a ssDNA drug (Vitravene) is released.

    Just one of many areas scientists are working on intensively. With molecular programming, a cure for cancer may be reality in the very near future!
  • Andrew Herbert's presentation

    1. 1. MOLECULAR PROGRAMMING DR ANDREW HERBERT OBE FRENG MICROSOFT DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, MICROSOFT RESEARCH
    2. 2. SMALLER AND SMALLER H Song et al. Nature 462, 1039-1043 (2009) doi:10.1038/nature08639 Placement and orientation of individual DNA shapes on lithographically patterned surfaces. Nature Nanotechnology 4, 557 - 561 (2009).
    3. 3. BUILDING THE SMALLEST THINGS How do we build structures that are by definition smaller than our tools? Basic answer: We can’t. Structures (and tools) should build themselves!
    4. 4. MOLECULAR ASSEMBLY Nature can self-assemble. Can we? “Dear Furniture Shop, please send me a table that assembles itself.” ADD WATER
    5. 5. DNA
    6. 6. NANOSCALE ENGINEERING Sensing Constructing Actuating Computing
    7. 7. DESIGN & SIMULATION
    8. 8. COMPILATION & CODE GENERATION
    9. 9. JUST ADD WATER & EXPERIMENT!
    10. 10. THE FUTURE: COMPUTATIONAL DRUGS Simplified (omitting the “no” pathway) Nature 429, 423-429 An autonomous molecular computer for logical control of gene expression Yaakov Benenson1,2, Binyamin Gil2, Uri Ben-Dor1, Rivka Adar2 & Ehud Shapiro1,2 1 - Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel 2 - Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
    11. 11. //RESEARCH.MICROSOFT.COM Acknowledgement: Luca Cardelli, Microsoft Research

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