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Researchers say crab-based computing possible, lobsters throw up claws in disbelief

Jason Hidalgo, @JasonHidalgo
April 13, 2012
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IBM's Holey Optochip? Yawn. Fujitsu's K supercomputer? Yesterday's news. Forget about boring old conventional computing stuff, the future of computer technology lies in crabs -- lots and lots of crabs. Researchers at Kobe University and the University of the West of England's Unconventional Computing Centre have discovered that properly herded crabs can signal the AND, OR and NOT arguments essential to computers, not to mention those crucial 1s and 0s. Forcing two swarms of crabs into one, for instance, represents the OR gate -- a trick the computational crustaceans pulled off fairly reliably. Not every operation was pincer perfect, however, as the crabs tended to stumble a bit through attempts at signaling the AND function. At least guiding a group of crabs isn't as tough as herding cats -- researchers used a shadow to imitate a predatory bird and direct the hapless creatures accordingly. Sure, it may not be the first biological computer, but it just might be the first fear-based computer.

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