Was reading about microchips that are designed to allow a few mistakes (known as '
'), and pondering equivalent kinds of 'coding' errors and entropy in biological systems. Can a fair comparison be made between the two?
OK, to setup my question I probably need to run through my (basic) understanding of biological vs silicon entropy...
In the transistor, error is a bad thing (in getting the required job done as efficiently and cheaply as possible), metered by parity bits that come as standard in every packet of data transmitted. But, in biological systems error is not necessarily bad. Most copying errors are filtered out, but some propogate and some of those might become beneficial to the organism (in thermodynamics sometimes known as "autonomy producing equivocations
Relating to the article about 'sloppy chips
', how does entropy and energy efficiency factor into this? For the silicon chip efficiency leads to heat (a problem), for the string of DNA efficiency leads to fewer mutations, and thus less change within populations, and thus, inevitably, less capacity for organisms to diversify and react to their environments - leading to no evolution, no change, no good. Slightly less
efficiency is good for biology, and, it seems, good for some kinds of calculations and computer processes.
What work has been done on these connections I draw between the biological and the silicon?
I'm worried that my analogy is limited, based as it is on a paradigm for living systems that too closely mirrors the digital systems we have built. Can DNA and binary parity bit transistors be understood on their own terms, without resorting to using the other as a metaphor to understanding?
Where do the boundaries lie in comparing the two?