Latest Issue

Biology and computing

Biology and computing used to be at opposite ends of the scientific spectrum. But the deluge of DNA data and the complexity of computer networks have begun a productive conversation between the two-which may lead to a kind of union.

By Tom Standage   December 2000

Inside a long, low sliver of glass and steel in upstate New York, the world’s most powerful computer is taking shape. It will consist of 256 cube-shaped racks laid out on a 16-by-16 grid. Each rack will contain four circuit boards, each of which will have 36 chips mounted on it. Each of these chips, in turn, will contain 32 processors, each one equivalent in computing power to one of today’s fastest desktop PCs. The resulting supercomputer, which is called Blue Gene and is being constructed by IBM at its Thomas J Watson research centre, will thus consist of a…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect