Cytomolecular Computing Conrad and Liberman

Wayne State University computer scientist Michael Conrad and Soviet information scientist E. A. Liberman have collaborated to consider aspects of biomolecular computing including the cytoskeleton. They consider that the "computing power of the brain is primarily based on intracellular processes." They propose that the cyclic nucleotide system (energy rich molecules such as cyclic AMP) sculpts three dimensional dynamic patterns in the cytoplasm of neurons and other cells which are the analog texture of real time information processing. Conrad and Liberman view reaction diffusion patterns of cyclic AMP, regulated and perceived by both cell membranes and the cytoskeleton, as a link between macroscopic neural activities and molecular scale computing. Conrad, known for his conceptualization of protein enzymes as possible computer components (Chapter 1), has also advanced the notion of molecular automata within cells (Conrad, 1973). He and Liberman suggest that the intracellular cytoskeleton perceives mechanical stretch or distortion subsequent to membrane events and accordingly regulates cyclic AMP and other biomessengers.

Conrad and Liberman (1982) suggest:

in neurons, mechanical stimulation appears on movement of the intraneuron tubule skeleton and micromuscle ... details of the skeleton and micromuscles (are) suitable for constructing the molecular analog ... of the real physical field in which this system moves.

Conrad and Liberman view a molecular analog within the cytoskeleton as a representation of the external world. Extrapolated to complex systems like the brain, such a cytoskeletal analog could suffice as a medium of cognition.

Conrad (1985) notes that highly parallel signal processing and vibratory behavior on the part of microtubules and other cytoskeletal elements could play a significant role.

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