Article: Towards implementation of Cellular Automata in Microbial Fuel Cells

“Towards implementation of Cellular Automata in Microbial Fuel Cells”, Michail-Antisthenis Tsompanas(1), Andrew Adamatzky(1), Georgios Ch. Sirakoulis(2), John Greenman(3), Ioannis Ieropoulos(3),

(1) Unconventional Computing Centre, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK,

(2) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece

(3) Bristol BioEnergy Centre, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK



The Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) is a bio-electrochemical transducer converting waste products into electricity using microbial communities. Cellular Automaton (CA) is a uniform array of finite-state machines that update their states in discrete time depending on states of their closest neighbors by the same rule. Arrays of MFCs could, in principle, act as massive-parallel computing devices with local connectivity between elementary processors. We provide a theoretical design of such a parallel processor by implementing CA in MFCs. We have chosen Conway’s Game of Life as the ‘benchmark’ CA because this is the most popular CA which also exhibits an enormously rich spectrum of patterns. Each cell of the Game of Life CA is realized using two MFCs. The MFCs are linked electrically and hydraulically. The model is verified via simulation of an electrical circuit demonstrating equivalent behaviors. The design is a first step towards future implementations of fully autonomous biological computing devices with massive parallelism. The energy independence of such devices counteracts their somewhat slow transitions – compared to silicon circuitry – between the different states during computation.


Available through arXiv