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Pages 1224-1231
First published 2 September 2013

SimSoup: Molecules Designed for Switchable Autocatalytic Memory

Chris Gordon-Smith


A memory system based on an artificial chemistry is presented. This is relevant for metabolism based Origin of Life theories, and in the field of biological and chemical computing. Each memory unit can be switched between three alternative active states. A unit maintains itself in a particular state using an autocatalytic reaction process. Switching between states occurs when an external stimulus triggers the autocatalytic process for the new state, along with an associated process that inhibits autocatalytic activity for the old state. Artificial molecular species with structures designed to support the autocatalytic and inhibiting processes are presented. The SimSoup artificial chemistry simulator is used to show that the structures do indeed produce the memory system behaviour. With the advent of engineering at the molecular level, it may be possible to transfer the concepts from an in silico environment to a chemical environment.