MrSeb writes: "A group of Japanese scientists have built a massively-parallel, brain-like computer out of an organic molecule called DDQ. This computer, which is built from 300 DDQ “neurons,” has successfully calculated how heat diffuses through a medium, and the mutation of normal cells into cancer cells. The work of Anirban Bandyopadhyay and his team from the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, revolves around a molecule called 2,3-dichloro-5,6-dicyano-p-benzoquinone, or DDQ for short. DDQ is a ring molecule that can connect with up to six neighboring DDQ molecules. Most importantly, each DDQ molecule can be programmed into four different states, each conducting electricity differently. 300 DDQ molecules are placed on a gold substrate, and their conductive states and connections to other molecules are programmed using a scanning tunneling microscope. The end result is a cellular automaton of 300 neuron-like molecules that can perform calculations in a massively parallel way. It is another characteristic of DDQ "brains" that is most intriguing: When a DDQ molecule changes state, the change ripples down through the molecules that it's connected to, destroying old bonds and creating new circuits as it goes — much like a neuron making new synapse connections. This could eventually lead to emergent computing, where the DDQ brain can react to external stimuli and evolve over time."