King offers an analogy: imagine a computer trying to solve a problem is actually trying to navigate a maze. Instead of tracing one path of the maze at a time, DNA could replicate itself at every junction—and at each point in the maze incorporate new information gleaned from solving the previous step. This would let the DNA explore exponentially faster than modern computer processors. Each strand of DNA is a processor, because it’s executing the command of replicating itself with a slight variation, building another processor which can take up its mantle. Unlike our modern computers which utilize processors that are more or less permanent and can run unlimited kinds of code, these are single-use and disposable, the exact opposite.
— “A DNA computer has a trillion siblings and replicates itself to make a decision” by Dave Gershgorn (via Quartz)