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Computer: CPU
Mushroom-Powered Computing   (+1, -3)  [vote for, against]
Gigantic Fungus-Powered Computer Takes Days to Solve 2+2

A monstrous machine that replaces the lightning-fast movements of electrons with the snail-pace growth of mushrooms to make computations.

Instead of logic gates, we have "fungus gates": a grid-like pattern of cells, each lined with damp soil that mushrooms like to grow on. Each cell has a lid. As mushrooms in a cell increase in size, they lift the lid, allowing their spores to transfer into surrounding cells. A chain reaction is produced (over the period of a couple of days), and, depending on the arrangement of cells in the grid, computations can be made. Occupied cells become "yes", sporeless cells "no"; certain configurations for "and, not, else, if, then etc"...

Just vote! Any annotation you make would be totally pointless anyway. Shame on you for even trying to argue.
-- mailtosalonga, Apr 12 2004

Well, think about this: humongously slowly functioning fungal computers sooner or later developed the modern high powered computing machine we call a dolphin. (Or were fungi the other branch on the tree of life?)
-- DrCurry, Apr 12 2004

When the calculation is done, can your harvest the mushrooms and eat them?
-- kbecker, Apr 12 2004

It's a bird ... no, it's a plane ... no, wait! It's a ... screensaver.
-- dpsyplc, Apr 12 2004

//When the calculation is done, can your harvest the mushrooms and eat them?// This is sensitive, expensive equipment, sir, I spent hard-earned money for this Penti-yum... i feel bad for having made such a pun
-- alc, Apr 12 2004

No it doesn't. The fungi act on each other by one mushroom's growth causing growth of mushrooms elsewhere. That's a form of computation. I have no idea whether it would really work with mushrooms and boxes, but the principle is really quite clever.

(In a way, you could see it as turning the idea of simulating real-world organic growth with cellular automata upside down to simulate a simple automaton using real-world organic growth.)
-- jutta, Apr 24 2004

Kids... come here... we're going to build your science fair project...

Johnny, grab that 50 pound bag of manure would you?
-- zigness, Apr 24 2004

[jutta], I'm confused about the sunlight part you're talking about. It's not mentioned by the author. Are you thinking of another method?
-- zigness, Apr 24 2004

It occurs to me that in the time it would take to boot up DOS with one of these, whole species of animals and plants could evolve and become extinct.

I'm not sure they'd still be mushrooms by the time you're done booting up.
-- zigness, Apr 24 2004

[zigness], good call, I had completely misread the method. Must have been late!

So, how do you do a "NOT" in this?
-- jutta, May 02 2004

Even I dunno. Introduce fungus-eating mites.
-- mailtosalonga, Aug 10 2004

This computer would be great for Conway's (sp?) Game of Life.
-- Alx_xlA, Feb 04 2009

I love this.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2009

random, halfbakery