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Biology finds its own uses for physics - Input Junkie
April 22nd, 2010
09:40 am


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Biology finds its own uses for physics
Quantum explanation for muscle contraction
Tieyan Si at the Max Planck Institute for Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany, has created a quantum model of muscle behaviour. His idea is that myosin, the molecular motor responsible for muscle contraction, is essentially a quantum object and that its behaviour is best described by quantum mechanics.

Does this kind of thing imply that you can't predict good simulations of human brains by comparing the number of neurons to Moore's Law? There are a lot of quanta, but (afaik) they're simple and statistically predictable. If brains are using quantum effects, how much is this likely to add to the amount of computing needed?

Yet another link thanks to Geek Press.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:April 22nd, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
Since my muscles seem to contract reliably when I want them to . . . I don't notice that my intending to type this comment results sometimes in a key being depressed and sometimes not, and I venture to say that we would never have invented touch typing were that an issue . . . I don't think the quantum nature of the effect has much relevance. You could just model the neuromuscular interaction as a black box, I think. Whatever quantum weirdness is going on is securely inside the black box; it doesn't come out as macroscopic unpredictability or emergent behavior.

But I was thinking of a plan
To dye one's whiskers green,
And always use so large a fan
That they could not be seen.

(Lewis Carroll)
[User Picture]
Date:April 22nd, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
...but you do at some point need to come up with a model of how the black box behaves, the difference between a bulk material and a network of tiny black boxes with two discrete states each matters. "Quantum" doesn't always mean "weird".
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