We’ve long known the slime mold can determine the shortest path through a maze, or even model optimal railway systems. Now, a group of researchers has shown these amoeba-like single-cell organisms could be used to build general-purpose computers.
In a paper published last week on the academic research website arXiv, scientists from the University of the West of England confirm Physarum polycephalum slime molds can act as memristors, a new type of resistor, a key component of electrical circuits. The paper has not yet been submitted to any scientific journals.
Memristors, like resistors, regulate the flow of electricity through a circuit, but they can “remember” a particular charge even when it’s turned off. This means they could be used to create more efficient computer memory.