Aaron Germuth.

Aaron Germuth.

Kitimat UNBC student researching the future of computers

Kitimat's Aaron Germuth is studying the feasibility of molecular computing.

As far as most consumers need to be aware a computer is essentially a magical machine that uses electricity to let us share photos of cartoon characters making humourous life observations through Facebook.

However a wall in advancement is beginning to loom, where the components can only get so much smaller.

At the University of Northern British Columbia a team of researchers, including Kitimat’s Aaron Germuth, are at work laying the groundwork for the next computer advancement, making circuits just a molecule wide.

Germuth’s work has taken him to Boston, where he gave a 20-minute presentation to a crowd at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Association for Computing Machinery International Symposium on Nanoscale Architectures.

His presentation was from information in a paper he co-wrote with UNBC Computer Science Professor Dr. Alex Aravind.

“The idea is that every two or three years we get the transistors in computers a little bit smaller which means we can put more of them on which means our computers get a little bit faster. But we’re just advancing this little bit by little bit,” said Germuth. “The future is what if we could get these things to be one molecule big?”

An interesting aspect of Germuth’s rise in academic prominence is that he, like many people, didn’t actually know what he wanted to do when he applied to go to UNBC.

In fact, his desire to go to UNBC at all was primarily driven by the fact that a lot of his friends were going too.

Even so, peer pressure that brings you to a university must be good peer pressure, and he’s been more than happy with his choice.

“I’m glad I went because it’s a research intensive university and the professor to student class size means I had way more opportunities to do research with professors,” he said.

His path led him from biochemistry to computer science to the joint-application he’s studying now.

“This is all just theory now and we won’t know whether this can work until science advances to the point where we can manipulate individual molecules. And we’re getting there fast,” he said.

While Germuth was ready to graduate this year he’s opted go on for another year.

After that it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll go but he’s looking at opportunities in some graduate schools. He even has an interview with Google lined up.

And if you think his research will just make future smart phones run quicker, the implications of molecular computing actually goes much further.

“It has a lot of cool applications,” he said. “You could have a computer flowing through your blood that can measure blood sugar.”

Suddenly smart watches seem rather quaint.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross at his swearing in on Thursday (Nov. 26), with his wife, Tracey, left, mother, Frieda, and grandson, Parker. (Ellis Ross photo)
Ellis Ross sworn in as Skeena MLA

Ceremonies happening virtually rather than all in-person in Victoria

CityWest internet and other services are down in Kitimat as of Wednesday (Nov. 25) evening. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Services down for CityWest users in Kitimat

Services were put out due to a landslide cutting a fibre line

The Terrace River Kings lost 3-9 to the Quesnel Kangaroos on Mar. 2, 2019 in the final CIHL playoffs. (Lindsay Chung Photo)
Central Interior Hockey League cancels 2020/21 season

League open to playing exhibition games if possible

The team at Burns Lake Elizabeth Fry Society, who work to support those affected by domestic abuse and violence. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Rio Tinto donates $25,000 to each Kitimat’s Tamitik Status of Women, Burns Lake Elizabeth Fry Society

Part of larger support to those helping women and children experiencing family and domestic violence

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read