Imagine computers so small and powerful that all your district's computing needs could be met with an array the size of a postage stamp. Imagine dozens of lightning-fast workstations on a grain of sand or tiny probes that cruise the bloodstream looking for trouble. These all would be possible with molecule-size computer components based on chemicals instead of chips and transistors, researchers said on July 16.

"What we are proposing is essentially building a computer in a test tube," said Phil Kuekes, a computer architect for Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, Calif.

Such tiny, chemically assembled computer components could create devices billions of...

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