The development of fully programmable computers introduced a new problem - the "bootstrap" problem (from an old story about lifting yourself up by pulling on your shoelaces [boostraps]).
- A fully programmable computer has no set program.
- When the computer turns on, it needs to find the program to run
- The computer needs a program to tell it what program to run
- DNA is the "program" for organisms (it directs their construction, including reproduction)
- DNA breaks down outside of the cell environment (primarily the cell wall)
- The cell wall is constructed by instructions in DNA (it will not form naturally)
During my time developing computers, I was part of a small team which uncovered a problem in the boot process of a new computer system.
- The boot code lived in a chip called the "BIOS"
- This chip was connected off another chip called the "Southbridge" (through a "bus")
- The Southbridge powered up in a state which required a certain bit to be set in order to enable that bus
- The code to set that bit was in the BIOS code
The simplest DNA code (a bacterium) is 150,000 bits long - human DNA is 7,500,000,000 bits. The most complex computer programs are about 1/10 of that (and DNA codes proteins which are far more powerful than the instructions in a computer).