Developing DNA as a medium for format-independent digital archiving Event as iCalendar

(Science Event Tags, Lectures, Seminars, Computer Science)

29 March 2018

11am - 12pm

Venue: MAC 2 (110-113)

Location: City Campus

Host: Centre for Computational Evolution

Cost: Free


Title: Developing DNA as a medium for format-independent digital archiving    

Ant Poole
Professor of Bioinformatics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland
Director, Bioinformatics Institute


There is much excitement at the potential for using DNA as a storage medium for computing. Tape archives are currently used for long term digital data storage, however the storage lifetime for tape is at best a few decades.

By contrast, DNA is an ideal long-term storage medium. DNA has been shown to be stable in cold and dry environments for tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Moreover, it is orders of magnitude more compact than existing digital storage media (~200 petabytes/gram).

While these attributes make DNA an attractive alternative to magnetic media, this stability illuminates other problems for long-term digital storage. The most significant is that the standards and conventions used in computing rapidly change: most hardware, operating systems, programming languates and file formats in routine use 2-3 decades ago are now defunct.

Consequently, DNA storage is limited not by physical stability, but by the rapid turnover of technologies, standards and conventions. In this talk, I will present my early ideas on how to harness biology to achieve format-independent digital archiving of images.


Professor Ant Poole, School of Biological Sciences
Professor Ant Poole