Chemist Lee Cronin explaining how we will soon be able to make computers with chemicals, on the Technology Stage, at New Scientist Live

- Image ID: PNG1C3
John Gaffen / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: PNG1C3
ver the past few decades, computer processing power has doubled roughly every two years as the basic component of electronic devices gets smaller and smaller. But this trend, known as Moore’s law, is running out. It’s not physically possible to fit many more transistors onto a computer chip using conventional technology and dealing with waste heat is an issue. In this talk, Lee Cronin will describe another way. Computing with molecules instead of transistors promises to go beyond Moore’s law and even rival the power of quantum computers. This increase in computational power could be possible because molecules are so small. For example, a single 0.001 millilitre droplet of water contains 3.34 x 1019 molecules. The same number of transistors would require over 10 billion 22-core Xeon Broadwell processors. For this revolution to be possible we will need to develop technology that can go from programming digital bits to chemical bits. The key to this is programming the molecules in groups and how the data is read out. Lee Cronin was born in Ipswich and got his first computer and chemistry set when he was 8 years old. This is when he first started thinking about programming chemistry. He went to the University of York where he completed both a degree and PhD in chemistry and then on to do research in Edinburgh and Germany before becoming a lecturer at the University of Birmingham. He has been at the University of Glasgow since 2002, working up the ranks to become the regius professor of chemistry in 2013. He and his team are trying to make artificial life forms, find alien life, explore the digitisation of chemistry, and construct chemical computers. ee Cronin [1] received his B.Sc. (1994) and Ph.D. (1997) degrees from the University of York. From 1997 to 1999, he was a Leverhulme fellow at the University of Edinburgh working with Neil Robertson, and after that he moved to the University of Bielefeld (1999–2000) as an Alexander von Humboldt research fellow in the laborat
Location: ExCel, London, UK