If you're making a biological computer, what do you need to know about its parts? That's one of the questions I'm working on as I lead the effort to organize measurement in the Living Computing Project. One of the things that's coolest for me about this project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is that it's being funded by the computer science folks there, and so we get to really focus on questions about the fundamentals of computing with biology. And so I've been asking this question: what is it that I actually need to know, if I want to build a computer using the DNA of a living cell?
It is very easy, in every science, not just biology, to get seduced into performing the experiments that are easy to perform and gathering the data that is easy to record from your instruments. Unfortunately, however, the numbers that you obtain this way often turn out to not be the numbers that you really need, the ones that can actually give you insight into your system and let you build upon it.
Read Beal's full blog post here.