Toward a formal theory for computing machines made out of whatever physics offers

Herbert Jaeger*, Beatriz Noheda, Wilfred G. van der Wiel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Approaching limitations of digital computing technologies have spurred research in neuromorphic and other unconventional approaches to computing. Here we argue that if we want to engineer unconventional computing systems in a systematic way, we need guidance from a formal theory that is different from the classical symbolic-algorithmic Turing machine theory. We propose a general strategy for developing such a theory, and within that general view, a specific approach that we call fluent computing. In contrast to Turing, who modeled computing processes from a top-down perspective as symbolic reasoning, we adopt the scientific paradigm of physics and model physical computing systems bottom-up by formalizing what can ultimately be measured in a physical computing system. This leads to an understanding of computing as the structuring of processes, while classical models of computing systems describe the processing of structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4911
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2023

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