Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Minimum Cell Model and the Origin of Life Problem

Let’s try to define a Minimum Cell Model (MCM) for a cell in general and for the cell of a single cellular organism in particular. We will construct the model by identifying the minimum component types that make up the cell together with their basic role and function described in the context of their interactions as part of a self-sufficient self-replication entity.

We proceed from a starting proposition (assumption) that a cell has two fundamental properties:

P1. Has an enclosure (E)

P2. Has the ability to self-replicate accurately and this property is passed without degradation to its offspring daughter cells.

The property P2 of the cell to self-replicate means that it can be seen as a mechanism with certain interacting parts that together produce two daughter cells from the original mother cell. We can safely characterize the self-replication process as a development through which the cell:

• ingests through the gateway (G) placed on its enclosure (E) certain materials from its environment ( see Figure 1 below)

• grows by changing its volume and geometry during a “cloning” phase. During this cloning phase it is assumed that certain components of the cell are replicated (or cloned) through some internal ability of component/part fabrication.

• starts and completes a sub-process of separation of the now grown cell volume into two separate daughter volumes as part of the “division” phase. At the end of the division phase the two separated volumes become self-sufficient cells capable themselves to self-replicate.

One trivial consequence of this manifest property P2 of the cell to self-replicate is that we must find that each of the two daughter cell must have the same composition in components (parts) as the original mother cell and each one is a “replica” mechanism (a well-coordinated set of interacting parts) of the original mother cell mechanism.

The Component Types of the Minimum Cell Model (MCM)

We can infer thus that the cell contains at a minimum the following type of components (or parts)

The enclosure E has the role to isolate the internal volume of the cell from its environment and to protect its internal components and processes (see Figure 1 below).

There is at least one gateway G component on the enclosure. The gateway role is to detect certain materials in the cell environment and to open in order to allow them to enter the cell enclosure. The gateway will stay closed otherwise.

There is a power producer P component within the cell. This component is responsible to use certain materials accepted through the gateway to produce energy. The energy produced is used by other cell components to execute their functions, for example – as we can see below - to fabricate parts or to transport materials or parts within the cell.

There is a transporter and assembler T component that is responsible to transport various materials and parts during the cloning and division phases of the cell replication. It has also the ability to somehow manipulate the transported materials and parts and to put them together (assemble) when needed.

There is a fabricator F component that is responsible to fabricate, construct or manufacture needed parts and components during the cloning and division phase. The fabricator uses materials accepted through the gateway as input to fabrication process. The fabricator must have the capability to fabricate all cell component types and their parts. For example the fabricator is able to fabricate the enclosure and its elements and to fabricate a fabricator component and its parts.

There is a construction planner CP component that is responsible to store in certain ways detailed construction plans of all component types of the cell and their parts as well as the construction plan of the whole cell. This component is also responsible to use the information in its construction plan to coordinate the activities of various component types in the cell and to coordinate the overall progress of the cloning and the division phases of the cell self-replication.

Figure 1   The Minimum Cell Model (MCM) and its component types: E = enclosure, G = gateway, P = power generator, T = transporter and assembler, F = fabricator, CP = construction planner

Rationale for the definition of the Minimum Cell Model (MCM) and its Component Types

1. There is at least one component in the cell MCM for each component type

2. It is possible and accepted by the MCM that multiple instances of each component type (excluding E) exist in the MCM cell.

3. The six component types have been selected (identified) such they have distinct function and there is certainty that the associated function type is present in the actual cells.

4. The six component types have been also selected for a strong correspondence to the actual element types in the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

5. There might be additional component types and associated functions that – for the simplicity and minimal characteristic of the MCM were not included. For example there might be a cell scaffolding component type or a material transformation function, or a material ejection function

6. Each of the six component types may actually represent a sub-family of components that have small variations between them but they play similar role in the MCM.

Interactions between the Component Types in the MCM

We illustrate – without being exhaustive - the kind of functional interactions that exists between the six component types of the MCM. These interactions manifest during various steps of the cloning and division phases of the cell replication.

Interactions of the Enclosure E component type with the other component types

• Enclosure E hosts spatially the gateway(s) G component types

• Enclosure E elements are built by the Fabricator F as the volume of the cell grows during cloning and new sub-elements of the E need to be inserted

• Fabricated sub-elements of the enclosure are transported at the point of the insertion in E by the Transport T function using energy produced by the Power Producer P

• The Construction Planner CP function coordinates the change in geometry and 3D change and extension or shrinkage of the enclosure during the cloning and division phases.

Interactions of the Gateway G component type with the other component types

• Gateway component types are built by the Fabricator F.

• Gateway component types and their parts are built by the Fabricator according with the specific construction plans for the gateway stored by the Construction Planner CP component type.

• The new Gateway component types constructed for the daughter part of the enclosure are inserted geometrically in the growing envelope of the enclosure in a position directed by the Construction Planner CP.

• Gateway G interacts with the Transport and Assembler T component type to load for transport the materials accepted by the gateway from external cell environment

• The gateway component type is instructed by the Construction Planner CP component type when to open and accept inside the cell specific material types that are needed for fabrication of particular component types or parts. Similarly it is instructed when to stay closed in presence of other materials that are in full supply inside the cell.

Interactions of the Transport and Assembler T component type with the other component types

• The transport and assembler component and its parts are fabricated by the Fabricator F

• The transport and assembler component types are using energy generated by the Power Producer P to carry materials and parts and to assemble other components or their parts from basic elements.

• The transport component type picks materials from the Gateway G and carries them to various locations in the cell like the Fabricator component.

Interactions of the Fabricator F component type with the other component types

• The fabricator uses materials and parts transported to it by the Transport and Assembler T component type.

• The fabricator uses the Transport and Assembler T component type to assemble fabricated parts into higher level assemblies or components.

• The activity of the fabricator F is fully coordinated by the Construction Planner CP component type in respect to what needs to be fabricated and how to fabricate, i.e. what is the fabrication, construction and assemblage plan for the element. The Construction Planner CP component type coordinates also the end part of the fabrication by instructing the Transport and Assemblage T component type on where in the cell to transport the fabricated part.

• Although the Fabricator F acts always under the coordination of the Construction Planner (CP) by virtue of the rule that it must have the ability to fabricate any MCM component (and component elements) of the MCM, F have the ability to fabricate a Construction Planner (CP) for the daughter MCM during the cloning phase. Since CP cannot logically be a coordinator and planner without storing locally some kind of information, results by consequence that the Fabricator F has the ability to copy any information (set) from the CP component into the cloned CP component.

Figure 2   The interactions between the component types of the Minimum Cell Model (MCM) machinery: E = enclosure, G = gateway, P = power generator, T = transporter and assembler, F = fabricator, CP = construction planner

The Minimum Cell Model as a Mechanism and Irreducible Complex System.

The picture in figure 2 above illustrates schematically the complex interactions between the six component types of the Minimum Cell Model. At the same time the picture illustrates at the high level the Minimum Cell Model as a mechanism or machinery that has 6 parts and the mechanism works as intended only if all the parts are in place (present) and each part works as specified (or designed). Another way to express this is to state that each part of the mechanism must be present and fulfill its ‘contractual’ obligations enumerated by the interfaces and interactions with other components of the mechanism.

Like any other functioning mechanism or machinery it is natural that the Minimum Cell Model be viewed as an irreducible complex system that depends on the presence of all its designed parts and the good interlocking and coordination of these parts in order to work well and provide the expected behavior – in our case to produce exact copies of itself through replication. The removal or absence of any single component type of the Minimum Cell Model will compromise its working and will lead to failure of its ability to replicate – as explained by Michael Behe when discussing the irreducible complex systems (see Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution)

The Minimum Cell Model and the Origin of Life Problem

In the Origin of Life (OOL) literature there were historically three distinct avenues for the research trying to find ways that life originated as result of the laws of physics and chemistry in conjunction with pure natural happenings and circumstances. See: Signature in the Cell by Stephen C. Mayer
These three research avenues for the OOL research are briefly identified as:

1. Replicator – First

2. Metabolism – First

3. Membrane – First

The Minimum Cell Model defined in previous sections reveals though clearly that any rational attempt to identify any naturalistic OOL scenario must follow a totally different approach, for which we would give THREE quasi-equivalent names:

a. Full System – First

b. All-Integrated-Components – First

c. The Integral Irreducible Complex System – First

The Problem with Current Approaches in OOL Research

The justification for declaring that only such a Full System - First approach (as named alternatively as b. or c. above) must be considered by OOL research for a chance to succeed is quite straightforward: a Minimum Cell Model (MCM) CANNOT function as a true replicator in any of the following circumstances:

I.  There is an internal component that has the ability to self-replicate itself but it is not able to also construct other indispensable components like the Enclosure (E), the Power Generator (P) or the Construction Planner (CP) components and also is not able to place and assemble these components in required functional relationships for an overall self-replication capability. This circumstance is characteristic for the Replicator – First approach in OOL research.

II.  There is an internal component that has the ability to use external materials in order to fabricate one or only a few other components but is lacking the ability to construct other indispensable components like Enclosure (E), Transporter and Assembler (T) or the Construction Planner (CP) components and also is not able to place and assemble these components in required functional relationships for an overall self-replication capability. This circumstance is characteristic for the Metabolism – First approach in OOL research.

III.   There is a component that has the ability to function as an Enclosure (E) but is lacking the ability to construct other indispensable components like the Power Generator (P), the Fabricator (F) or the Construction Planner (CP) components and also is not able to place and assemble these components in required functional relationships for an overall self-replication capability. This circumstance is characteristic for the Membrane– First approach in OOL research.

There are good grounds to estimate that the OOL research trying to identify naturalistic scenarios for the origin of life is facing extreme (insurmountable) difficulties – which we believe are made clear with the Minimum Cell Model. Here are a few more thoughts that can farther support this statement.

There is no debate that a cell (or any single cell organism) is a very complicated mechanism – at least for its undisputed ability to accurately self-replicate.

The Minimum Cell Model (MCM) is used to create a simplified but realistic model of the cell as a mechanism composed of a number of components each with specific functions and capabilities and integrated through defined interactions and interfaces into an overall machinery that manifests the ability to self-replicate. It can be argued that there is too much simplification in the MCM and other component types besides the six identified ones might be needed. But a more complex model of the cell will farther strengthen all this reasoning– rather than weaken it.

It is known that many components of the cell – and thus the components of the MCM - are quite complex with research being conducted continuously in order to get a better understanding of the inner workings of each such component. Experimental research on creating artificial, concrete, self-replicating objects, revealed an unimaginable level of complexity, and numerous technical barriers for any attempt to build fully autonomous, concrete self-replicators. See:

        Freitas, R.A. Jr., Merkle, R., Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines

        The Design of the Simplest Self-Replicator (youtube conference video)

        The Design of the Simplest Self-Replicator (powerpoint slides: take 2 minutes to download)

        Freitas, A.R. Jr., Gilbreath, W.P., Editors, Advanced Automation for Space Missions

There is no known success in the creation of concrete, autonomous self-replicators by engineers, technologists or scientists. In other words the design and construction of a material, fully autonomous self replicator is considered by the author beyond the current engineering and technological capabilities of the humankind. Then this state of affairs seems to be perfectly consistent with the previous statement expressing total skepticism regarding any possible success on OOL research for natural origins of life.

The Minimum Cell Model just helps us to see and understand the Cell as a special composition of integrated functional parts:

The Cell is a Complex Irreducible System made up of a number of components that through their precise arrangements, interactions and coordination manifest the hard-to-achieve self-replication ability.

The Minimum Cell Model as well alows us to see with better clarity what problems need to be resolved by OOL research looking into a naturalistic explanation of the apparition of the cell (or life).

Expectations for Successfull OOL Research

Any OOL research that desires to provide a scientific, convincing explanation for a naturalistic origin of the life need to be aware that it must provide rigurous answers in all three areas below:

a.   A naturalistic explanation of the origin of life (or self-replicating cell) requires a detailed, credible scenario that explains how each component type originated by the interplay of physical and chemical laws with natural circumstances and phenomena [the natural apparition of all needed component types],

b.   A naturalistic explanation of the origin of life (or self-replicating cell) requires a detailed, credible scenario that explains how the collection of diverse component types of the cell may have happened to engage in the exact working interactions, interfaces, communication and coordination patterns that resulted in an overall self-replication scheme (the cell system (abstract) plan) [the natural apparition of an effective self-replicating system scheme],

c.   A naturalistic explanation of the origin of life (or self-replicating cell) requires a detailed, credible scenario that explains how (and the probabilities that) all necessary component types in all necessary required numbers, with all necessary interactions, interfaces and communication and coordination patterns integrated as an overall self-replication capability happened to exist (be created) concomitantly and all within a small space and with the required spatial arrangements to function as an (apparently) designed system [the natural apparition precisely at the same time and at the same place of all needed component types in the required numbers and fortuituos precise assemblage and start-up of all these parts into an effective self-replicating machinery that appears to be designed for this purpose but it is not].


We defined the Minimum Cell Model as an empirical representation of the nature of a cell as a mechanism that has the capability to self-replicate by virtue of the nature, capabilities and interactions of its defined component types. The MCM fundamentally represents simply the cell as an irreducible complex system that provides its function (ability to create replicas of itself) as long as all its required components are present and work and interacts as expected.

The Minimum Cell Model is used as an adequate abstraction that allow us to reflect with clarity upon the question if such a machinery may have appeared spontaneously by the interplay of natural laws and natural phenomena and circumstances.

Using the paradign of the irreducible complex system that applies perfectly to the cell and our Minimum Cell Model we determined that:

A.   Previous and current OOL efforts that engage on any of the Replicator - First, Metabolism - First or Membrane - First approaches is destined to overall failure since only a Full-System - First approach is rationally acceptable.

B.   Any OOL effort with a chance of final success must provide coherent and credible answers and explanations on three distinct but related planes:

        1.   The natural origination of all required component types of the MCM (cell)

        2.   The natural origination of a self-replication scheme or machinery plan were self-replication is achieved through careful interactions and coordination of all components of the MCM (cell)

        3.   The natural putting together or assemblage of all required component types conforming to the machinery plan, within specific same-time, same-place apparition constraints and proper assemblage and engaging-in-action constraints

C.   We determined and stated that the chances of a successful OOL effort on naturalistic basis are extremely small or inexistent based on following justifications:

        1.   The perceived extreme difficulty that any OOL effort may provide credible answers for all three logical planes identified above at B.

        2.   The ever increasing complexity revealed by scientific research of the only known entities able to self-replicate: the cell and all living world creatures. The micro biology scientists do not have a complete understanding of many details and mechanisms involved in the cell self-replication.

        3.   The independent studies and research into the design and creation of artificial, concrete self-replication machinery. In our view the design and creation of artificial, concrete, fully-autonomous self-replicating machinery is much beyond the current engineering and technological capabilities of the mankind. It is absolutely evident that believing that natural laws and random happenings may create machinery of such complexity that the most advanced scientific and engineering labs in the world cannot create has no rational and scientific basis.

The OOL research looking for a naturalistic explanation for the origin of the first cell is confronted with a sysiphic, hopeless task.

Friday, November 20, 2009

IBM is creating a new market: planet building

IBM launched earlier this year a new company logo:

“Let’s build a smarter Planet!”

I was extremely excited when I first saw this IBM commercial on my
TV. I thought to myself: finally we have a prestigious company,
renowned for its technological prowess, its unbounded creativity who
shows the courage to attack a project for the 21st century.

It was time to take seriously the flurry of problems with our planet
we environmentalists discover almost daily. It was time that a
credible entity like IBM put at work its unbounded intellectual,
engineering, scientific and technological resources to bring
solutions to myriad of problems for which we – concerned with the
future of our planet Earth – loose a lot of sleep.

My enthusiasm was strengthened by the implied invitation transparent
in the IBM wording of its “call to arms” to collective participation
to such a marvelous project of all those concerned and who may come
with their unbounded enthusiasm and also uncounted resources and
ideas to implement this magnificent project. Isn’t smart on the part
of IBM to attract to this project all entities and individuals that
can contribute to this endeavor?

My enthusiasm could not be stopped. I already started spinning my
wheels thinking how many issues this project will bring to the
forefront, how challenging is going to be to choose directions,
select options, define priorities, do brainstorming and structure
approaches for so many details that need to be addressed.

And I want to begin my voluntary participation to this project by
just randomly asking some good question or, rather thinking with a
loud voice about many aspects of this enterprise.

First, I wonder, how far IBM may have advanced with its planning or
even implementation of this project – for practical motives I’ll
refer from now on to this project as “Smart Planet Project” or SPP.

I wonder also how many internal resources and expenses is IBM going
to commit to SPP. Do they think of SPP as a two months project, two
years project, twenty years project, two hundred years project?

I would say that IBM engaged on the courageous path and decided that
building a new planet from scratch is the way to go. I mean, not
trying to fix the so numerous problems with face today with planet
Earth. If, just informally, you try to enumerate only the most
important problems you may think about the following:
  • The planet may not be able to feed the ever growing population of
    the world.
  • The climate changes are really annoying - think about tropical
    storms, melting of the ice caps or the glaciers, raising of the ocean
    waters or, if you don’t think that those are real threats, just think
    about the dangers of a new planetary glaciation
  • The continuous danger posed by stray meteorites that at any time
    may hit the planet and lead to unimaginable disasters.
  • The continuous movement of the magnetic Poles – not counting the
    known fact recorded by scientists that some time there may be sudden,
    radical changes in their position and orientation.
  • So many pests that make continuous threats to our standard of
    living (germs, bacteria, viruses, epidemics, locusts, rabbits, etc.)
  • The threatened species
  • The danger of diminishing food supplies for many segments of fauna
    or sea creatures or insects.

I trust that IBM will not ignore all major problems with planet
Earth, but also will include on the list of features of the new
planet many other not so major problems. I don’t think IBM – or any
other entities - can afford to restart such an important project from
scratch after one failed (or incomplete) attempt.

Here are some other questions and issues regarding the specifics of
the SPP.

Is IBM going to spend significant time in the definition,
specification of the features and parameters of the new planet, or
they are rather going to use an experimental approach where they will
build a “pilot mini-planet”, let’s say, 100 meters in diameter.?
This experimental approach may allow them to make measured
investments and allow them to change the direction – if they
discover that whatever approach they choose initially does not work.

Wondering about such a pilot planet, some other questions come to
mind. Will they build it in a huge hangar – but resting on Earth, or
they may build it in space directly – maybe exploiting the know-how
acquired from the current space station.

If they will build the pilot planet in space will it be a satellite
of the Earth, of the Moon, of the Sun or no satellite at all? Will it
be placed somewhere within a commuting distance from Earth? Or this
will create some risks of contamination?

How will they launch in space the pilot planet? Will they build it
fully on Earth and then use some new rocket technology to put it in a
choice orbit ? Or, rather assemble it in space, rock by rock, melted
lava by melted lava, screw by screw – or something like that?

Will the pilot planet have its own magnetic field ? Will it have a
liquid, metallic, melted core? Will IBM go on the idea that some
nuclear reactions inside the core will maintain the liquid core? Or
will IBM go with a totally new, unconventional solution with their
planetary construction?

Will IBM re-use the life (flora, fauna, insects, creatures of the
sea) existing on Earth on the pilot planet? Or, rather they will take
the courageous, radical path and build first in their labs a new,
flawless life eco system? Going with this approach will allow them to
not be constrained by the current, known limitations of the life on

They may build a silicon based, germanium-based, selenium-based or
whatever-based life ecosystem. Since they are advanced with their
nanotechnology, there may be no problem for IBM to synthesize life
with self-reproducing elements and creatures. And they can fix and
control in this way many aspects and details of the “new life” that
we really cannot control with the “legacy life”. They may build “life
control rooms” - like those used by NASA to launch the space shuttles
– to control the “flow of life” in various points on the pilot
planet, among various “new life species” so that there will be a
continuous harmonious and balanced eco system.

Some skeptics may ask questions. Will their “new life cells” – if
there will be anything like a “new life cell” – be able to
manufacture on average 2000 proteins (or whatever building blocks of
the new life be called) a minute? Will these new cells manage to
combine inside them transportation engines, intrusion detection
mechanisms, information storage systems, replication plans and
instrumentation, energy machines, material recycling devices,
information decoding and coding machines, manufacturing motors, to
listen and obey signals coming from outside the cell, to accept
catalysis of specific chemical reactions?

Will the new life creatures will be “soft tissue” creatures that
replenish their internal cells (or whatever building blocks)
continuously, or, rather they will be manufactured statically from
indestructible metal (or carbon, or whatever) levers, wheels,
semiconductors that will not degrade in time ? (this may require some
thoughts relative to the Laws of Thermodynamics – unless IBM manages
to establish a “mini-universe” on this pilot planet (or hosting this
pilot planet) that has its own set of physical laws.

Will the pilot planet be water based? Or, more general liquid (any
kind) based? Will the pilot planet have a continuous, natural
circulation of the “base liquid” on its surface (or/and under
surface). Or rather IBM will figure out that a set of fixed pipes and
pools of liquid (build solidly forever) make more sense?

Will there be any kind of hills, mountains, valleys, canyons, rivers,
seas on the pilot planet? Or an engineered system of pipes, faucets
and reservoir will do the job?

Maybe IBM will figure a kind of planet with no liquid matter and
consequently no need (or possibility) to “wash” things (or
“creatures”). We should not exclude the possibility that IBM may
figure out a “totally gaseous planet” or a “vapor planet”, or a
“totally solid planet” (like a multilayered huge semiconductor) – but
that doesn’t seem to be much fun.

Will there be rain, or snow or thunders on that planet? Any
atmospheric electricity? Or any atmosphere – for that matter? Any
singing birds? Or at least a wide variety of tasteful mp3 sounds and
melodies whose generation will be controlled from the “planet control

Will IBM seed the “new life creatures” on the planet with so called
“instincts”? Like the instinct to feed (assuming that there will be
some gastrointestinal system, or any material on the planet that can
serve as food) , to reproduce (with associated assumptions about the
anatomy of the creatures – if anything like this make sense), or
there will be a “uni-sex world” – or, rather an asexual world? This
may relief that world of a lot of known reasons for stress and

Will there be rust on the pilot planet? Will the creatures on the
pilot planet be subject to “rusting”, or any other (in) appropriate
degradation? Or, rather they will endure forever? There will be free
will (in any form) on the pilot planet? Or, given the known fact that
a free will may lead to many problems, will IBM figure out a way to
build machines, robots, creatures (or whatever) having free will? Or
rather the IBM scientists will rather decide that that makes no sense
(I cannot stop thinking about our present government here)? Will
there be “love” or “hate” or any other type of sentiment or emotions
on the pilot planet? Or rather IBM will decide that this is old
fashioned and the source of so many secondary problems.

Will the creatures IBM will populate the pilot planet feed
themselves? Will they be mobile? Will there be any “flying
creatures”? Or creatures leaving in “liquid masses/pools”. This leads
to the Oxygen question. Or there will be no need for respiration or
such thing. You can imagine rather that the creatures can be some
rigid (or no soft tissue) mechanisms, using some sort of energy
(assuming they will have reason or justification to consume any such
energy) “piped to them” from the Control Rooms through wires, or
pipes or wirelessly.

Now I guess that one area where IBM wants to get “smarter” would be
an advanced solution for the energy problem on the SPP. Is the
ultimate source of energy on the SPP going to be the solar energy -
assuming that IBM decides to place the SPP somewhere in our solar
system (or, who knows, in a foreign solar system)? I trust that IBM
will find a “smarter” solution then that. No doubt that IBM will
figure a much cleaner, smarter source of energy: who knows - some
nuclear energy (is this really clean?) or who-knows-what-is-IBM-cooking in its labs?

I need to stop here. I started being concerned with so many questions
and challenges that IBM need to deal in order to build their (our?)
smarter planet. I started wondering (after just thinking for a while)
how IBM is going to manage such a project and find answers and
solutions to all these questions and issues – and many others for
that matter.

I started losing sleep during my long nights being obsessed with
these and other questions.

After nights and days of thought and meditation I realized that it is
not going to be easy for IBM. But my intellectual efforts led me – I
believe – to a genial, much simpler and radical solution. And here it
is – I hope that you will agree that this is a brilliant idea that
will put to work the most advanced scientific thinking of our days.

What about if IBM just build two devices (and forget the myriad of
problems and challenges it needs to solve otherwise). These two
needed devices are as follows:

  1. A time machine
  2. A big-bang machine (I’ll explain later that there is a chance that IBM can start with a “small-bang” machine initially).

If you wonder how these two machines will make up a solution for the
daunting task of building a smarter planet here it is plain and

* IBM will use the time machine to travel back in time 14-15 billions
years – or as much as they can before they hit the “wall” of the
origin of time (who knows IBM might not be intimidated by such a
barrier and go even farther down the road).

* IBM researchers travelling back in time should not forget to carry
with them the big-bang machine.

* Once at the “end-of-the-back-in-time” road the IBM researchers
need to start the big-bang machine to produce as many as possible
(and as fast as possible) myriad of new (untainted) universes (the so
called “multi-verse”).

* After “planting the seed” for this myriad of universes the IBM
researchers can plain and simply come back home to their families (if
they have a good time machine and left in the morning, there is
chance that they may be back at home late afternoon for dinner).
While they relax at home (or in their labs) the nature will follow
its course in the “cooking universes”. The Darwinian evolution and
the evolution in a larger sense on each universe will “cook” what we
all expect to cook: new laws of physics, cosmic dust, galaxies,
stars, planetary systems, planets, moons, life and all other things
we dreamers dream in our dreams.

* Than IBM researchers can relax and enjoy life on Earth (as much as
the life on Earth – this miserable planet - can be enjoyed) and from
time to time take back their time machine to travel back (not so much
back these times) to see how the “planted” universes develop, grow
and flourish.

* Then the last task for the IBM researchers is to show discernment
and select from these flourishing universes, the best-in-class solar
systems and from these solar systems the best-in-class planets.

* Now I realized that besides the two machines I mentioned above, the
brilliant IBM researchers will need a large supply of a certain third
ingredient: they need good taste. They need good taste to know how to
pick a good, solid, smart planet from so many universes and so many
solar systems. I am a little afraid here because IBM does not have a
good track record in the matter of good taste. This is clearly
visible in the selection of the public relations company that came
with the slogan:

“Let’s build a smarter planet”

Don’t forget you brilliant IBM researchers: you need to show real
good taste in all your choices.