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Molecular Communication: A New Paradigm for Communication Among Biological Nanomachines
Molecular communication is a new paradigm for nano-scale communication between biological or artificial nanomachines (artificial or biological nano-scale devices that perform simple computation, sensing, or actuation). Molecular communication applies the nano and micro-scale communication mechanisms from biological systems to allow nanomachines to communicate by using molecules as a communication carrier over a short distance.
Nanomachines that communicate may achieve tasks that cannot be accomplished by a single nanomachine and can spur the creation of entirely new applications. Such applications may include distributed computing through communicating nanomachines that function as basic logic gates and human health monitoring through communicating nanomachines that act as implant devices monitoring molecules and conditions in a human body.
The class of molecular communication systems considered in this presentation consists of sender nanomachines, receiver nanomachines, carrier molecules, and the environment that these operate in. Senders and receivers include biological (such as cells) and biologically derived (such as molecular motors or sensors taken from biological systems) nanomachines that are capable of emitting and capturing carrier molecules (such as proteins, ions, or DNA). The environment is the aqueous solution that is typically found within and between cells.
This presentation explains initial ideas for molecular communication. This presentation also covers basic communication processes in molecular communication and key system components that form a molecular communication system. It also illustrates research issues necessary to create molecular communication.
TATSUYA SUDA received the B.E., M.E., and Dr.E. degrees in applied mathematics and physics from Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, in 1977, 1979, and 1982, respectively.
From 1982 to 1984, he was with the Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, New York, as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. Since 1984, he has been with the Department of Computer Science, Information and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine, where he is currently a Professor. He has also served as a program director of the Networking Research Program at the National Science Foundation from Oct. '96 through Jan., '99, and he is also currently serving as a program director of the Emerging Models and Technologies Program at the National Science Foundation since Feb. ’07. He received an IBM postdoctoral fellowship in 1983. He was the Conference Coordinator from 1989 to 1991, the Secretary and Treasurer from 1991 to 1993, the Vice Chairman from 1993 to 1995, and the Chairman from 1995 to 1997 of the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Communications. He was also the director of the U.S. Society Relations of the IEEE Communications Society from 1997 to 1999. He is an editor of the IEEE/ACM Transaction on Networking, a senior technical consultant to the IEEE Transaction on Communications, a former Editor of the IEEE Transaction on Communications and is an Area Editor of the International Journal of Computer and Software Engineering. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Wiley and Sons. He was the Chair of the 8th IEEE Workshop on Computer Communications and the TPC co-chair of the IEEE Infocom 97. He was a visiting associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, a Hitachi Professor at the Osaka University, a NTT Research Professor, and currently is a NTT Docomo Research Professor.
Dr. Suda has been engaged in research in the fields of computer communications and networks, high speed networks, multimedia systems, ubiquitous networks, distributed systems, object oriented communication systems, network applications, performance modeling and evaluation, and application of biological concepts to networks and network applications. Dr. Suda’s recent research includes molecular communication, a new paradigm for nano scale communication among biological nanomachines.
Dr. Suda is a fellow of IEEE and a member of ACM.
Towards Intelligent Bacterial Nanorobots Capable of Communicating with the Macro-World
The field of nanorobotics defines nanorobots from large robotic platforms capable of nanometer-scale operations to robots with overall dimensions in the nanometer-scale. But because of actual technological constraints, the definition of nanorobots often includes untethered robots with overall dimensions in the micrometer-scale that depend on the integration of nanometer-scale components for the execution of specific tasks. An example is the intracellular magnetite nanoparticles assembled in a chain-like structure and termed magnetosomes embedded in magnetotactic bacteria (MTB).
As demonstrated by our group, this structure allows accurate directional control of these flagellated bacteria by an external computer by exploiting magnetotaxis where a directional torque is induced from local magnetic fields generated with relatively small electrical currents. By controlling a swarm of MC-1 cells, each providing through a pair of flagellated nanomotors thrust forces exceeding 4pN, it becomes possible in an aqueous medium to provide directional control and propulsion to relatively large micro-components and in particular microelectronic integrated circuits (IC) that can provide a level of intelligence to micrometer-scale aqueous robots.
In this talk, we show that it is possible with actual available technologies to implement an intelligent untethered system or robot with overall dimensions of only a few hundreds micrometers capable of communicating to an external computer its directional propulsion requirements based on sensory information collected by the robot itself in order to find a specific target. The talk will not only show examples of computer-controlled bacterial actuation and how it can be exploited to minimize electrical energy requirement for the implementation of smaller untethered robots, but the basic architecture of such intelligent robot will be presented with emphasis on engineering challenges at such a scale.
Among several topics, the talk will propose a new communication paradigm between such nanorobots and external computers, bypassing power and miniaturization limitations of the more traditional communication techniques when implemented at such a scale. Then the presentation will conclude on the possibility of implementing swarms of these intelligent bacterial robots to accomplish more advanced tasks through networked interactions and other techniques including swarm intelligence.
SYLVAIN MARTEL received a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Montréal, Canada, in 1997. Following postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he was appointed Research Scientist at the BioInstrumentation Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. From Feb. 2001 to Sept. 2004, he had dual appointments at MIT and as Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at École Polytechnique de Montréal (EPM), Campus of the University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada. He is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the NanoRobotics Laboratory at EPM that he founded in 2002.Dr. Martel holds the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Micro/Nanosystem Development, Fabrication and Validation since 2001. He has over 120 refereed publications, several patents, gives several invited presentations annually, and he is an active member in many international committees and organizations worldwide. Dr. Martel’s main expertise is in the field of nanorobotics, micro- and nano-systems, and the development of novel instrumented platforms and a variety of related support technologies targeted mainly for biomedical and bioengineering applications, and nanotechnology. He has a vast experience in electronics, computer engineering, and also worked extensively in biomedical and mechanical engineering.
Presently, Dr. Martel leads a multidisciplinary team involved in research and development of new instrumented platforms mainly for the medical field and in bioengineering, such as 1) development of nano-factories based on a fleet of scientific instruments configured as autonomous miniature robots capable of high throughput screening in biotechnology and autonomous operations at the molecular scale, 2) developmenet of minimally invasive tools based on microdevices propelled in the blood vessels by magnetic gradients generated by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems for tumor targeting and other applications, 3) development of biosensors designed to be navigated through the blood vessels that could potentially be targeted at the brain for non-invasive recording and imaging of brain activities with high spatial resolution, and 4) development of various microsystems using and integrating magnetotactic bacteria as computer controlled functional components for various applications including but not limited to the fast detection of pathogenic bacteria and as bio-carriers for drug delivery in cancer therapy.
Programming Bits and Atoms
Software has served to isolate programs (and programmers) from knowledge of the underlying physical mechanisms used for computation. However, device scaling is leading to a limit in which the number of information-bearing degrees of freedom becomes comparable to the number of physical ones. At that point it will no longer be possible to distinguish between computer science and physical science, because they will be describing the same attributes. The density, velocity, and interaction of information is coupled by physical law; the same must be true of scalable models for computation and communications. I will explore the benefits of exposing rather than hiding the boundary between bits and atoms, including interdevice internetworking, conformal computing architectures, mathematical programming models, and digital fabrication processes.
NEIL GERSHENFELD is the Director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. His unique laboratory is breaking down boundaries between the digital and physical worlds, from creating molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments. Technology from his lab has been seen and used in settings including New York's Museum of Modern Art and rural Indian villages, the White House and the World Economic Forum, inner-city community centers and automobile safety systems, Las Vegas shows and Sami herds.
He is the author of numerous technical publications, patents, and books including Fab, When Things Start To Think, The Nature of Mathematical Modeling, and The Physics of Information Technology, and has been featured in media such as The New York Times, The Economist, and the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour.
He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and has been selected as a CNN/Time/Fortune Principal Voice and by Prospect/FP as one of the top 100 public intellectuals.
Dr. Gershenfeld has a BA in Physics with High Honors and an honorary Doctor of Science from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. from Cornell University, was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows, and a member of the research staff at Bell Labs.