Genes, Macromolecules, -&- Computing are Strange Loops

I began thinking about the concepts presented in this work from around the age of 12, in 1984. Later on, as I read and reread Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter, I started writing about this when I felt I had learnt enough to form reasonably cogent and coherent sentences in the new hybrid language of computational biology. This occurred when I was 17, in 1990, when I began my undergraduate degrees in Computing Science and Genetics (with minors in Mathematics and Microbiology). I have largely set aside this work once I laid out most of the ideas I had then because the problems I thought would take me months or years (for example, the protein folding problem) has consumed my life and then some. Writing about creating a sentient human-like simulation is a lot easier than actually doing it, since it not only involves developing the necessary science/technology but also involves managing teams of people to execute that vision. I have done and continue to do this and it's very rewarding in its own way but it can also be frustrating at times (no offense intended to the vast majority of my mentees who've been awesome and who I'm really proud of).

The book is thus an ongoing process. The other chapters will be published as they're written. The reason for the hold up is because solving the protein folding problem and extending it to understand how proteins interact with other molecules to create what we call life (and then sentience) is highly nontrivial. However, I've published my writing because I hope that it will make for some thought provoking reading (along the lines of certain pop science books) at the very least.

Some of the ideas here (simulating an artificial cell in molecular detail in virtuale, for example) have begun to be thought about seriously in science (1997, 2016), but those ideas were proposed in this work as early as 1992-93 and were thought about in the roughest forms in 1984 by people like Hofstadter. This is me standing on their giant shoulders.


  1. Overview
  2. It's a small molecule world after all
  3. Transcribing DNA
  4. Translating mRNA
  5. Protein folding
  6. The cell as an emergent self replicating and self organising operating system
  7. Philosophical issues
  8. Reflections


Genes, Macromolecules, -&- Computing || Pseudointellectual ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||