"Quantum computing has attempted to solve this problem by developing computers that can perform multiple calculations at once, but have had scaling problems.
"Life had three and a half billion years to think about hardware, so with life components in the bio-computer we hope that many problems will already smooth out three and a half billion years of evolution."
To explore opportunities, Dr. Nicolau created tiny bio-computers made of cells from rabbit muscle, pig brain, and even bacteria, combined with synthetic nano-components.
Living cells were able to "investigate" the problem that the researchers put up for them, and they themselves came to the solution.
Dr. Nicolau said that the use of bacteria seemed to be the most biological component of small computers.
"Bacteria have several advantages – one is to improve themselves; two are resistant bastards, it is very difficult to damage or kill them even if you want; and three are the ones who replicate themselves, "he said.
"So if you are thinking of building something that needs to increase as the question or problem increases, you want something that is self-replicating, because you do not have to continue feeding – it just grows with the problem itself."
In addition, Dr. Nicolau said, because the bacteria were complete organisms, unlike individual cells from larger animals, in order to achieve a certain degree of "free will", which made the computational ability even greater.
He said that the next phase would be an attempt to examine the boundaries of what bio-computers could do, giving them more difficult problems to try to solve.
The boundaries of this process go into the field of science fiction, but Dr. Nicolau said that we are far from developing a computer that could think of a response to life, the universe, and everything else.
"People understand, while AI systems do not work. So wide, the idea is to build computers that can think and be intelligent in the way we are intelligent, "he said.
"So, my great hope is that bio-computers will be the way to this sacred rage of thinking and artificial intelligence."
Last year, Dr. Nicolau received a scholarship from the Australian Research Council Future Fellovship for $ 978,125, and shared her time between KUT and Okford Universities.
His full work on his research was published in the Interface Focus magazine.
Stuart Lait covers health, science and technology for the Brisbane Times. He was formerly a political reporter from Kueensland for AAP.