Microbial Artificial Intelligence

Vladimir Ivanov ivanov at wlab.freenet.kiev.ua
Thu May 15 03:48:25 EST 1997

Dear Brian O.Bush and netters,

>   I am looking for some biological organisms and/or a chemical mixture
>   whereby I can interface my BEAM (nervous networks in analog electrical
>   circuits). I am looking for some symbiotic behavior possibly, but at
>   first I want some "natural mechanism" to store electrical impulses (a
>   crude memory).
>   Brian O. Bush

I am very glad to contact with another  biologists and  computer
specialists   which   are  interesting   in   the   problem   of
biocomputer.The  following idea seems  a  little  bit phantastic
but I am sure that  the creation of  microbial  "brain"  is very
real and useful thing. One thermostate and  one computer may are
needed  to grow  and   learn thousands  of specialized microbial
"brains" during five days.The  price  of  such biochips  will be
negligible in the comparatively with the electronic ones.  I  am
sure that the described below idea will work.

Best regards,
Vladimir Ivanov
Prof.Vladimir Ivanov
Department of Microbiology  and General Immunology,
Ukrainian National University ,
60 Vladimirskaya Str.,Kiev 252017,Ukraine

Tel:     380-44-244-4403; 380-44-266-6206
Fax/Tel :380-44-216-7012; 380-44-244-4403
E-mail: ivanov at wlab.freenet.kiev.ua

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             by Vladimir N.  Ivanov

Department of  Microbiology   and   General   Immunology,Ukrainian
National   University,  60  Vladimirskaya  St.,Kiev,252017,Ukraine
E-mail : ivanov at wlab.freenet.kiev.ua

ABSTRACT.Microbial chip  ("artificial  intelligence")   may   be
created as  a   pseudo-neural network  grown  as   mycelium   of
fungy.This  network is  grown/created under  the learning action
of computer   .Such  chip will be very cheap.Notwithstanding the
low rate of fuzzy logic operations such chip may  be useful  for
the  solving   the   anthropomorphic    problems   and  for  the
biosensoring   .The  theoretical   and   engineering  issues  of
fungy-based artificial   intelligence are briefly considered  in
this paper.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK. The theory and simulation of Neural Networks
(NN)  are  considered  to  be  the  basis  for the construction of
Neurocomputers  (NC)  for  solving  informational  problems   with
simultaneous  influences  of numerous factors and various kinds of
information on the system .The use of NC in  the  elaborations  of
expert  systems  or  systems  of  sciences  is  based  on  special
electronic or optical elements.  They provide  the  stability  and
reliability  of  artificial  NN  and,in  the  future,of Artificial
Intelligence  (AI).Nevertheless  the  recognition  of  information
under  uncertain and fluctuated conditions and under conditions of
fuzzy reasoning is the evolutionary prerogative of the  biological
systems.Therefore  the  hybridization  of  any  NN-like biological
system with  computer  can  give  the  best  results  for  solving
anthropomorphic information  problems  such  as  pattern or speech
recognition.This way may be effective to construct AI because  the
base  for this is not only the limited human intelligence ,but the
evolutionary attainments of other biological systems as well.

PHYSICAL AND BIOLOGICAL BASIS .  The hybrid of computer - enhanced
learning  and  working systems with NN-like mycelia of microscopic
fungi  may  be  called  as  mycocomputer  or   Fungal   Artificial
Intelligence   (FAI).  Fungy  are  the  kingdom  of  heterotrophic
organisms widespread in nature.Cultivation of fungal  colonies  in
laboratory  is  feasible  for  many  species  of fungi by ordinary
microbiological methods in liquid  or  solid  synthetic  media.The
growth  of  filamentous  fungi  is  the extention and branching of
hyphae.  Hyphae is a cylinder covered  by  rigid  cell  wall  with
diameter from 5 to 15 micrometers.  Fungal hyphae grow in a strict
polarized  manner,extending  only  at   the   extreme   tip,called
apix.Hyphae   can   connect,   aggregate   and  interlace  between
themselves,forming   mycelium.Fungal   hyphae   conduct   electric
currents  through  themselves  and  establish  endogenous electric
fields .One type of this field is the membrane potential and other
one  is  the lateral polarity of hyphae mainly expressed at apical
region of hyphae.  Electric currents into the apex and out of  the
trunk  have  been noted in a variety of fungi .  As a consequence,
the  applied  electric  field  affects  the  hyphae   growth   and
branching.For the majority of fungal cells the physiological range
of steady electric fields would  be  within  0.1-10  mV  per  cell
diameter  .The  growth  of fungal colonies in the applied electric
fields with intensity from 15 to 30 V/cm shows the  branching  and
growth  of  hyphae towards the anode or the perpendicular growth .
Applied  electric  fields  may  generate   intracellular   voltage
gradients  by  depolarizing  the membrane at the cathodic end of a
cell and  hyperpolarizing  it  at  the  anodic  end.A  cytoplasmic
electric  field  between the apices and distal region of hyphae is
about 0.5 V/cm.The time required for polarization  makes  up  some
minutes.This   time   is   necessary   for  the  electrophoretical
distribution of active polymers in fungal hyphae.

consists  of  a  cell  body  ,branching  dendrites  ,one axon with
collaterals.The   neurons   are   connected   between   themselves
throughout  stimulating and braking synapses.  The natural NN-like
mycelial network  also  has  interhypae  electic  contacts.It   is
proposed  that  these  contacts  hyperpolarize  or  depolarize the
membrane potential  in  the  apical  regions  of  hyphae  as   the
consequences of  disposition  of  electic contacts from the apices
and  synchronism  of  polarity  of  electric  fields  applied   to
contacting mycelia.   Individual  mycelia  may  be  considered  as
neuron-like biological element of NC.The difference between neuron
and mycelium is in great number of mycelial exit channels. Natural
neural  networks  and   mycelial   networks   are   very   similar
systems.Taking   into  account  the  technological possibility  to
cultivate the  fungal  mycelium  and  to  connect  them  with  any
electric system,it would be interesting to build AI as a hybrid of
FAI and computer-enhanced learning and working system.

LEARNING,WORK AND MEMORY OF FAI.  The learning of NN is  based  on
the  increase  of  the  connections  between  synchronously active
neuron-like elements.The learning of FAI can  be  carried  out  by
synchronization  of  the  electric  impulses  from  electronic  or
biological receptors  and  the  impulses  corresponding  to  right
answer(s) from learning computer.Coincidence of these impulses may
stimulate or inhibit the extention and branching  of  neighbouring
hyphae and  effect  the number of interhyphal electric contacts.It
can be the base of FAI memory .  The growth of mycelium and memory
of FAI  will  correlate between themselves .The duration of fungal
growth and the duration of  FAI  learning  is  near  5  days.After
learning the  growth of fungi is finished and the using of FAI may
begin.The duration of FAI active work is about 20-30 days.The mass
of  one  mycelium  is  about  one  microgramm  and the information
capacity of one mycelium as pseudo-neuron is about 10 bits  .Thus,
the specific volume of FAI memory is about 10,000,000 bits per 1 g
of fungal biomass.The result of FAI work is the information  in  a
form of electric signals transformed and analyzed by computer.

ENGINEERING APPROACHES.  The  main  engineering  problems  in  the
building  of  FAI  are the guarantee of stability,the formation of
electric contacts of sensors and computer with some  thousands  of
inlet,outlet and inlet mycelia, providing of fungi with oxygen and
nutrients. Stabilization  problem  may  be  solved by the using of
thermophilic micromycetes as the biological base.The providing  of
fungy  with  oxygen and nutrients is carried out by cultivation of
fungi on  porous  hydrophilic  carrier.The  electric  contacts  of
sensors and computer with some thousands of inlet,outlet and inset
mycelia  are  formed  by  disposition   of   fungal   conidia   in
micropittings   connected  with  electrical  contacts,as  well  as
germination of  conidia  throughout  the  liquid  isolation  layer
between the micropittings and porous hydrophilic carrier.

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