There are two interesting developments which, if they are combined, could bring a whole new meaning to the term ‘Go Live’ when it comes to Data Warehousing projects.
Development #1 – DNA as a Data Store
DNA has the potential to revolutionize data storage. There are several qualities about DNA that make it very appealing:
- A recent experiment in ‘fossilizing’ DNA promises very long term stability. The research was conducted by Robert Grass and team from ETH Zurich’s Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences. “’[We] have revealed how the long-term, error-free storage of information can be achieved, potentially for more than a million years. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2955663/Death-hard-drive-Scientists-store-data-inside-DNA-MILLIONS-years.html)
- The ability to store and retrieve a song written to DNA was described in a May 14th, 2015 episode of BBC’s ‘Inside Science’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tm4dq)
- It is estimated that one kilogram of DNA could hold the same amount of data as 14 million Blu-ray disks (14,000,000 x 50GB = 700 PB per kilogram)
Development #2 – Neural Networks
Neural Networks have been making some great strides recently (see this Peter Fingar blog: http://www.psfk.com/2015/05/cognitive-computing-era-cognitive-systems-artificial-inteligence-deepmind.html).
Neural networks have fascinated me ever since my pride in being a pretty good backgammon player took a massive setback when I started repeatedly losing to a computer backgammon program named Jellyfish. Jellyfish replicated about the same number of artificial neurons as its namesake – and also developed new tactics and strategies that had eluded humans for thousands of years.
The Big Idea
So what happens when we put these together – can we create a new lifeform that can store data in its own DNA and use its own neural network (i.e. brain) to perform analytics tasks? We all might have a whole new type of ‘mouse’ attached to our computers.