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The first computer made entirely from carbon nanotubes has been created.
The computer, "Cedric," is only a prototype at this stage, but scientists could make it smaller and better than the current silicon models, BBC News reports.
For the time being, though, it is quite slow and only capable of counting up to 32 on one bit of information. It can swap between counting and sorting numbers on its basic operating system.
Co-author of the paper published in Nature, Max Shulaker, said, "In human terms, Cedric can count on his hands and sort the alphabet. But he is, in the full sense of the word, a computer."
If Cedric had enough memory, "[t]here is no limit to the tasks it can perform."
"This is not a computer you would buy off the shelf at Best Buy," Shulaker said, The Washington Post notes. "But the functionality is still a complete computer."
Cedric is the most complex electronic device created using carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are rolled up sheets of one-atom-thick carbon.
Cedric stands for "carbon nanontube digital integrated circuit."
Scientists are investigating carbon nanotubes since silicon circuits aren't going to be getting much smaller. "Silicon is great. It's very hard to beat," said Subhasish Mitra, senior author and Stanford electrical engineer. "But when everything gets so small, it's not clear you can get high performance and energy efficiency from silicon transistors."