University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Philosophy of computation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputational Matter
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages32
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameNatural Computing Series
ISSN (Print)1619-7127


Unconventional computation emerged as a response to a series of technological and societal challenges. The main source of these challenges is the expected collapse of Moore’s law. It is very likely that the existing trend of building faster digital information processing machines will come to an end. This chapter provides a broad philosophical discussion of what might be needed to construct a theoretical machinery that could be used to understand the obstacles and identify the alternative designs. The key issue that has been addressed is simple to formulate: given a physical system, what can it compute? There is an enormous conceptual depth to this question and some specific aspects are systematically discussed. The discussion covers digital philosophy of computation, two reasons why rocks cannot be used for computation are given, a new depth to the ontology of number, and the ensemble computation inspired by recent understanding of the computing ability of living cell aggregates.


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