A RNA-based theory of natural universal computation


Today the project welcomes Hessam Akhlaghpour to talk about his recent article A RNA theory of natural universal computation recently published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. His article is of particular interest to the project because it provides of a new formal model in biology that brings a new understanding to mechanisms of intercellular comunication for the development of: Cooperation in multicellular organisms and Rapid communication across cells. In this conversation we go through the most important contributions of Hessam’s article into the project of finding the universal computer in biology. Remarkably this model is very much a complement and expansion from Ron Maimon’s ideas about computation and life that we recently pay a tribute in the project.

Feb 19, 2022 2:00 PM — 4:00 PM




0:00 - Introduction

5:34 - Main Motivation of the work - Universal Computer in Biology

9:45 - Are Neural Networks (NNs) Turing complete ?

13:30 - Memory Expansion

19:16 - History of RNA Computation

23:10 - Controversy in Genetics about Junk-RNA or Non-Coding RNA

29:06 - Combinators and Combinatory Logic

35:25 - The parenthesis problem in Combinators and RNA Stem-Loops

42:10 - Combinators plus addresable memory = Cleavages + Ligations

46:45 - Combinators with self-reference

50:30 - Missconceptions about Combinators

56:30 - Natural RNA computation consequences in molecular memory theory

59:00 - Natural RNA computation consequences in non-coding RNA

1:01:35 - Q&A

1:04:10 - Sohail Question 1: How far are we from understanding the genome?

1:12:40 - Mohamed Question 1: Where is the Hardware and Software in this architecture?

1:15:10 - Mohamed Question 2: Church-Roser Theorem and the goal of computation

1:23:55 - Daniel Comment on Membrane Voltage of the Cell

1:30:37 - AfterParty

1:32:44 - Sohail comment on Membrane Voltage with peptides and neuropeptides

1:38:48 - Sohail Question 2: Review Process of a heterodox single authored article

1:41:18 - Ethan comment on Penrose’s proposal of a Quantum Biological process

1:43:00 - Ethan Question: How can one experimentally verify this theory?

1:45:23 - Brent Question: Is DNA or RNA a computer?

1:47:50 - Discussion 1: Are there natural quantum effects in biology?

1:50:46 - Discussion 2: Are there natural quantum effects in neuroscience?

1:55:40 - Closing Remarks

Keith Y. Patarroyo
Keith Y. Patarroyo
Researcher Engineer on Chemical Evolution, Digital Chemistry and Unconventional Computation

My research interests include Hierarchical Assembly, Chemical Evolution and Material Computation.