Re: analog computing

From: Aaron McBride (
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 02:18:28 MDT

At 03:12 PM 5/12/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>Some clarifications on the analog/ai issue... this is how I see it.
>(1) Digital systems are not limited to the Von Neuman model. Most digital
>today's digital technology*. Change the computing model (i.e., to some kind
>of cellular automaton), and full digital modelling of anolog systems suddenly
>becomes possible -- in real time, even, if you like.

I'd be interested in learning more about this. Can you recommend some
sources? What sort of programming language would take full advantage of a
system like this (if it has been invented)?

>(2) There is no fundamental distinction between the "analog" and the
>Analog and digital are fundamentally just two different formal mappings
>Really, the difference between the analog and the digital is the same as the
>difference between the integers and the real numbers. (I can see it now: Pi
>saying to 10 "I'm better than you are..." :)

(The following is not targeted at anyone in particular.)
I think I see what your getting at here. You're saying that integer
numbers can be used to represent reals, as long as you don't need infinite
precision, and aren't worried about things like rounding errors. And, I
can see how that is practical in today's world when we want to know 100%
what the result of some operation is/will be... But if the only difference
between today's computers and tomorrow's is speed and storage space (I
think this is what Gordon Worley was getting at) then why don't we just
write the AI to bring about a Singularity now (or last week)? If it's all
deterministic anyway, then couldn't we just simulate The AI with pencil and
paper? What I'm getting at is there seems to be some ingredient missing...
something that will make the computers of tomorrow be able to do more than
just play a really really fast game of solitaire. Maybe all we're missing
is the speed and storage space (and human invention in the way of
software), but we shouldn't rule out the possibility that more will be

I'll stop here, though I believe there is more to be said on this topic,
and more will be said in the coming years.

>David Montenegro

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:36 MDT