Taken broadly, DNA computation has enormous future potential. Its huge storage capacity, low energy cost, ease of manufacturing that exploits the power of self-assembly and its easy affinity with the natural world are an entry to nanoscale computing, possibly through designs that incorporate both molecular and electronic components. Since its inception, the technology has progressed at great speed, delivering point-of-care diagnostics and proof-of-concept smart drugs – those that can make diagnostic decisions about the type of therapy to deliver.
There are many challenges, of course, that need to be addressed so that the technology can move forward from the proof-of-concept to real smart drugs: the reliability of the DNA walkers, the robustness of DNA self-assembly, and improving drug delivery. But a century of traditional computer science research is well placed to contribute to developing DNA computing through new programming languages, abstractions, and formal verification techniques – techniques that have already revolutionised silicon circuit design, and can help launch organic computing down the same path.