Another of the events that I attended in Newcastle was an SRC Workshop on the interaction between electronic design automation and biological design automation. This takes a little unpacking to explain. For the past year or so, I have been part of a road-mapping project organized by the Semiconductor Research Corporation, which is in essence a research foundation run by the United States semiconductor industry. As we are approaching the end what physics allows in improving ordinary computers, this organization is investigating possible new directions for the industry to expand, and one of those directions is towards biology. There are a number of different aspects of this investigation, some of which I have talked about before, and more of which I will talk about in the future, but the one that we were discussing in Newcastle is how the methods used to design electronic systems might help in designing biological systems and vice versa.
Now those of you who have been following me and my work and my writings may know that I am a big advocate of biological design automation. I think that computational tools and models are the only way to really achieve the potential engineering biology. So it might be surprising then, dear reader, for you to hear that one of the big themes that I heard developing at this workshop was that lack of biological design automation software is not the bottleneck in the area and probably will not be for some time.
Read Beal's full blog post here.