Rickert on embedded computation (was re: science of consciousness.)

Neil Rickert rickert at cs.niu.edu
Wed Apr 29 10:36:20 EST 1998


ZZZghull at stny.lrun.com (Jerry Hull) writes:
>On 28 Apr 1998 15:52:50 -0500, rickert at cs.niu.edu (Neil Rickert)
>wrote:

>>No, I disagree.  In fact this was the sort of thing that the
>>disagreement between Bill Modlin and me was about.  We can say that
>>something is a computation without having to map it into the action
>>of a formal Turing machine.  From my perspective, the Turing theory
>>is that of an idealized mathematical model of computation.  It is not
>>a constraint on any actual computation, that it is required to
>>conform to the idealized model.  We generally don't expect our
>>idealized models to exactly correspond to reality.  Rather, the
>>expectation is that the model fits well enough to be useful for
>>theoretical analysis.

>I disagree, in turn.  It is only insofar as a PC or whatever conforms
>to the Turing model that it can be said to execute algorithms.  That
>is what it *means* to be Turing equivalent:  the TM defines the
>effective procedure.  When your PC departs from the TM spec in this
>respect, it is *broken*.

This is quite wrong.  As soon as my PC starts to follow the TM spec,
it is *broken*, for that would mean that the video display system has
broken, the ethernet communication system has broken, and the mouse
system has broken.




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