Biological Simultions Advancing Rapidly

Remember the molecular dynamics simulation of a virus I mentioned in the opening pages of the book? That were 1 Million atoms for 50 ns back in 2005. Now that we are well into the 2nd decade of the 3rd millennium researchers have stepped up their game and are tackling entire bacteria:

Using data supplied by researchers at the Max Planck Institute, University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher Elijah Roberts and chemistry professor Zaida Luthey-Schulten built a computer model of a bacterial cell that accurately simulates the behavior of actual cells.

Amazing! Now – whether you believe Wikipedia or or the Institute for Biomolecular Design, a E-Coli bacterium weights between 10^-12 and 10^-16 grams placing the number of atoms somewhere between half a Billion and 7 Trillion a pop. Taking the conservative approach by assuming half a Billion atoms we arrive at a factor 500 increase over 6 years.

Taking this armchair approach one step further there are about 100 Trillion cells in the human body that each have roughly 10’000 times more atoms than an E-Coli. So, how many years until we can reliably simulate a human being on the cellular level?

10^14*10^4 = 10^18 = ~500^7 ==> 7×6 = 43 years.

My prediction: if you are born post new year’s day 1975 – you will likely be around for the Singularity. Provided of course we will not descent into a post peak oil, fascist-theocratic dystopia before that. Take care of your lawn – you have been warned.

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