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Japanese Researchers Create A Crab-Based Computer

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the 8gb-of-pincer dept.

Japan 102

mikejuk writes "You can build a computer out of all sorts of things — mechanical components, vacuum tubes, transistors, fluids and ... crabs. Researchers at Kobe University in Japan have discovered that soldier crabs have behaviors suitable for implementing simple logic and hence — with enough crabs — you can achieve a complete computer. The Soldier crab Mictyris guinotae has a swarming behavior that is just right for simple logic gates (PDF). When two crab swarms collide they fuse to make a single swarm — and this is enough to build an OR gate."

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102 comments

Overheat (5, Funny)

simtel (798974) | about 2 years ago | (#39693589)

And just think: if it overheats, your computer becomes delicious

Re:Overheat (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693617)

Yeah, but then you'll have to shell out for a new one. It might be nice in a pinch, but in the end I'll bet you'd just spend all your time trying to claw back some sort of function.

Re:Overheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693829)

You forgot "quant-yummy" computing.

Re:Overheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39697375)

Lmfao that is such a good point.

who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693595)

So, who will be the first to welcome our crab swarm overlords?

One day (5, Funny)

avandesande (143899) | about 2 years ago | (#39693611)

My crotch will become sentient!

Re:One day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693633)

I'm itching just thinking about it. Or maybe they're thinking.

Re:One day (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693903)

Mine already does most of my thinking.

Re:One day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39694167)

We already knew you're a dickhead.

Re:One day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39694229)

My itchy 1 bit analog trouser computer can now actually perform simple logic!

You're a long way from a proof, buddy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693619)

One of the hardest things about proving emergent automata to be equivalent to, for instance, Turing mahines, is not showing that specific operations can be duplicated. The hardest part is showing that the thing doesn't degenerate when more complex interactions are necessary.

If they could build more than just a simple gate -- say, a flip flop, I would be more impressed.

Re:You're a long way from a proof, buddy (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#39694553)

To a degree.
It's more complex than this.
Mainstream computers basically assume error-free operation - because it's cheaper to run the devices a little slower - or to use more area or ... than to add the extra complexity required for error tolerant computing.
You can construct computers with gates that are 99% reliable quite easily.
90% requires a lot more check logic.
By the time you hit something like 66%, the design is many times the size of the 'error free' one.

I knew that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693623)

Hail dr Zoidberg !

I'd like to see.. (4, Funny)

boaworm (180781) | about 2 years ago | (#39693625)

I'd really like to see what they wrote on their research grant application...

Re:I'd like to see.. (3, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | about 2 years ago | (#39694087)

They are Japanese - I hear they're pretty open-minded about these sorta things, you know, claws and tentacles and stuff.

Re:I'd like to see.. (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 2 years ago | (#39695259)

The article ends with: "The results closely matched the simulation, suggesting that crab-powered computers could indeed be possible."

I translated that to: "We have seen enough hentai to know where this is going."

Also known as, "The summary doesn't match the article" because they only predicted the possibility, they didn't actually create a crab based computer.

Research > science fiction (2)

fleeped (1945926) | about 2 years ago | (#39693641)

Seriously, in terms of imaginative ways to accomplish stuff, researchers beat the shit out of everybody.

Who needs an Ipad3? (5, Funny)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#39693647)

Why not Zoidberg?

Re:Who needs an Ipad3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39705647)

Why do I have the image of Zoidberg amongst all those crabs saying, 'Look, now I have friends. Woo wooo woo!' ???

Maybe (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#39693649)

But if they start using crabs for computers, what am I going to do for dinner on payday?

Try Explaining That One To Airport Security (4, Funny)

bschorr (1316501) | about 2 years ago | (#39693717)

I can't wait to see the laptop version...

Re:Try Explaining That One To Airport Security (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 2 years ago | (#39698507)

Well, HEX (read the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett if you don't know it) runs on ants. But it is still a bit big. And off course, I doubt that you want ants on your lap.

Terry Pratchett's big mistake (3, Funny)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#39693721)

Instead of writing about an ant-powered computer (slogan: "Anthill inside") he should have taken out a US patent on it.

Method and implementation of a digital computer in which binary digits are living beings [..]

Claim 36: A computer as described in Claims 1-30 in which the digits are members of the phylum Arthropoda
Claim 37: A computer in which the members of Claim 36 are further members of sub-phylum Crustacea
Claim 38: A computer in which the members of Claim 36 are further members of sub-phylum Insecta
Claim 39: A read only memory in which storage is by means of members of the Phylum Arthropoda which have both a motile and a sessile stage, such as barnacles.

Re:Terry Pratchett's big mistake (1)

RodBee (2607323) | about 2 years ago | (#39695065)

Well, there's still time for him to patent his computational druidism. I don't think people made computers with cairn stones yet.

Re:Terry Pratchett's big mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39695661)

I guess that depends on what Stonehenge is really for.

Re:Terry Pratchett's big mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39701299)

Sorry, already been done on XKCD:
http://xkcd.com/505/

Re:Terry Pratchett's big mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39701791)

like to see SimAnt implemented on a crab computer

Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693771)

Wow, Sounds like a throw back to terminal days if "Shell" replaces the UI...

This sounds a lot like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693809)

Hex.
Ponder Stibbons is real!

How do you get an inverter? (1)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#39693865)

And what is the memory density? How many crabs does it take to make a JK flip-flop?

Re:How do you get an inverter? (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 2 years ago | (#39695043)

An inverter would be a swarm of crabs channeled in from outside through the VDD line, that run down the OUT line, as long as there are no crabs on the IN line.
As soon as crabs come down the IN line, they would merge with the crabs from the VDD line and the path of the combined swarm would be altered such, that they run down a third line instead of OUT, which I'd call GND.

Re:How do you get an inverter? (1)

anonymov (1768712) | about 2 years ago | (#39695279)

No need for special element, their AND gate is basically a 2-to-4 decoder (without 0 output line) - it has (NOT a AND b), (a AND b) and (a AND NOT b) outputs.

Just send a synchronized stream of crabs (damn, that's a nice combination of words) down one input and use corresponding output as NOT.

interesting (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#39693877)

because norwegian researchers already have implemented the natural communication protocol for these sorts of computers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers [wikipedia.org]

Re:interesting (1)

PaddyM (45763) | about 2 years ago | (#39694005)

And of course, the Matrix explained how we'd power such a computing device and network.

Re:interesting (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#39694409)

you mean powered by kitsch and ponderous explication?

Re:interesting (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#39694595)

firmly undergirded by the lackluster and limited emotional range of Reeves' acting

Not Logically Complete (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39693879)

They've got AND and OR gates, but no inverters. You can't really build a computer with that.

Re:Not Logically Complete (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | about 2 years ago | (#39694045)

The AND gate also produces NOT X AND Y and X AND NOT Y outputs. All you have to do is hold Y high and you have a NOT X gate.

Re:Not Logically Complete (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39694311)

> All you have to do is hold Y high and you have a NOT X gate.

That's a NAND gate, not an AND gate. You can do complete logic with NAND or XNOR. No other single gate is capable of it.

Re:Not Logically Complete (1)

lvxferre (2470098) | about 2 years ago | (#39694185)

Want a NOT gate? Show the crabs your cookware.


And a Linux crab machine would have a nice shell.

So that's the secret.. (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#39694071)

... to Dr. Blowhole's crab army in The Penguins of Madagascar. They're not just his fighting force, they're his compute core. :P

Human computer (2)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#39694233)

Get your tin foil hat ready. What computer program are *we* running? Make the rich richer 2.0?

Re:Human computer (1)

metaforest (685350) | about 2 years ago | (#39708129)

Get your tin foil hat ready. What computer program are *we* running? Make the rich richer 2.0?

I'm thinking the USians are running Collapse of the Republic - Release 2 revision 3 build 118
(build 119 is due out in Nov, and may have a new Executive Module)

On a related note, someone at my local post office posted a rather clever graphic hack on the community bulletin board (in meatspace). The graphic depicts the sinking of the Titanic, nosing down into the ocean. The superstructure of the ship has been replaced by an image of the US Capitol building. In the foreground two longboats are depicted. One of them is from the painting. "Washington Crossing the Delaware"
~Metaforest

Re:Human computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39715105)

Sounds about right, unfortunately!

Same with corporate managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39694315)

I once managed to setup a process which was working on a similar way using our company managers. I was looking for a process where managers could act in a structured logical manner instead of simply farming the programmers. Everybody was happy as it's working until today very well.

ps. We have seen an octopus being an oracle, maybe now it's time for cats to predict the stock market?

Douglas Adams predicted this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39694429)

I think this is clear proof that Douglas Adams got it right, the Earth is just a big experimental computer.

First thought after reading... (1)

cg88 (1084597) | about 2 years ago | (#39694891)

...was Realtek. I mean come on, their logo ( http://www.realtek.com.tw/ [realtek.com.tw] ) is a freaking crab anyway. How long before we see cheap network or sound cards based on _actual_ crab technology!?

Re:First thought after reading... (1)

anonymov (1768712) | about 2 years ago | (#39695313)

Misread it as "cheap network or sound crabs"

Could be done, electrically stimulate a crab to snap its pincers, employ good old pulse-width modulation and add some output filters.

Then get a bunch of them and make a polyphonic sound crab.

We all knew it was coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39695111)

I, for one, welcome our new crab overlords:

http://www.weebls-stuff.com/games/Obey+the+crab/

How many crabs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39695463)

Serious question, but I couldn't find anything in the article specifying exactly (or even roughly) how many crabs were used in this experiment. I mean, it would take a whole bunch of them to do anything notable, right?

I for one, (2)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 2 years ago | (#39695501)

welcome our supercomputing, sidewise crawling crab overlords.

Re:I for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39702025)

welcome our supercomputing, sidewise crawling crab overlords.

And unfortunately by being sidewise that gives them the disadvantage of not being very forward-thinking.

Doesn't sound kosher... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39697449)

I don't think this would be kosher, but it would give a new meaning to the term "wetware". Also, since they're shelled, wouldn't they also be hardware? Their innards are soft, so maybe they're a hardware and a software solution, too!

Take over the world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39698051)

With a Beowulf cluster of these, (and a few sharks with lasers, I could take over the world.

HHGTTG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39700375)

Seems like there might be some weight to the idea of our planet being a giant super computer dedicated to determining which important question is answered by "42"

But with enough monkeys ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39701075)

you can get the correct answer eventually, even without crabs

Going organic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39701257)

Looking forward to getting my first CrabTop computer - yippeee

Important questions (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 2 years ago | (#39701413)

These are the more pressing questions I didn't see answered in the article:

Will these crab-based computers play tentacle-based porn?

Will these computers be sold by weight or by volume?

Is there anything Japan *won't* do with seafood?

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