Heterotic computing examples with optics, bacteria, and chemicals

Susan Stepney, Samson Abramsky, Matthias Bechmann, Jerzy Gorecki, Viv Kendon, Thomas J. Naughton, Mario J. Perez-Jimenez, Francisco J. Romero-Campero, Angelika Sebald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

6 Citations (Scopus)


Unconventional computers can perform embodied computation that can directly exploit the natural dynamics of the substrate. But such in materio devices are often limited, special purpose machines. To be practically useful, unconventional devices are usually be combined with classical computers or control systems. However, there is currently no established way to do this, or to combine different unconventional devices. In this position paper we describe heterotic unconventional computation, an approach that focusses on combinations of unconventional devices. This will need a sound semantic framework defining how diverse unconventional computational devices can be combined in a way that respects the intrinsic computational power of each, whilst yielding a hybrid device that is capable of more than the sum of its parts. We also describe a suite of diverse physical implementations of heterotic unconventional computers, comprising computation performed by bacteria hosted in chemically built material, sensed and controlled optically and chemically.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnconventional Computation and Natural Computation
Subtitle of host publication11th International Conference, UCNC 2012, Orléan, France, September 3-7, 2012. Proceedings
EditorsJérôme Durand-Lose, Nataša Jonoska
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783642328947
ISBN (Print)9783642328930
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2012
Event11th International Conference on Unconventional Computing and Natural Computation - Orléan, France
Duration: 3 Sept 20127 Sept 2012

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference11th International Conference on Unconventional Computing and Natural Computation
Abbreviated titleUCNC 2012


  • computational devices
  • computational power
  • hybrid devices
  • natural dynamics
  • position papers
  • semantic framework
  • special-purpose machines
  • semantics
  • bacteria


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