Computing in Bacteria

A few quotes from the discussion on the everything list

http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list/t/240cc3ac8f614f6d

28.02.2012 21:31 Evgenii Rudnyi:

in answer to http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list/msg/8962b90c47a3c296

I am thermodynamicist and I do not know exactly what is information and computation. You have written that living beings perform computations. Several questions in this respect.

Are computations are limited to living beings only?

Does a bacteria perform computations as well?

If yes, then what is the difference between a ballcock in the toilet and bacteria (provided we exclude reproduction from consideration)?

29.02.2012 15:58 Alberto G.Corona:

Of course they compute. Even a plant must read the imputs of temperature, humidity and sun radiation to decide when sping may arrive to launch the program of leaf growing and flour blossoming. This computation exist because, before that, the plants discovered cycles in the weather by random mutations and natural selection, so the plants with this computation could better optimize water and nutrient resources and outgrown those that do not. Without a predictable linear environment, computation and thus evolution and life is impossible.

29.02.2012 21:08 Evgenii Rudnyi:

How would you define “compute” in the sentence “a bacterium computes”? Is this similar to what happens within a computer?

01.03.2012 02:13 Alberto G.Corona:

Any biological activity involves many chemical reactions that produce intermediate results, These reactions involve molecules whose structure are coded in DNA, transceribed and build by RNA . The produced protein respond to some need of the bacteria as a result of an internal or external event. Perhaps some food has been engulfed in the citoplasma and there is need for protein breaking enzimes.

If you see the sequence of reactions in a piece of paper, it has the form of an algoritm. It does nor matter if it is executed in paralell, and several steps are executed at different times in different locations, but this does not change the algorithmic nature of the process, with the memorized set of instructions, the input the execution machinery and the output produced.

01.03.2012 20:28 Evgenii Rudnyi:

Chemical reactions take place not only in the cell. Let us take for example the famous Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction (nonlinear chemical oscillator, there are several reactions in this process taking place simultaneously). Could we say that a reactor with this reaction also computes?


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