Here's the first in a series of lectures by one of the founders of 'quantum computational theory' David Deutsch which explains in summary the fundamental nature of computation as a quantum process underlying all classical processes like e.g. the 'Universal Turing Machine'.What is computation? — Count Timothy von Icarus
In many respects, it is impossible to distinguish communication from computation in contemporary theories. I think they are different and that this shows a weakness in the theories. — Count Timothy von Icarus
I'm wondering if anyone knows any good resources on this topic? — Count Timothy von Icarus
There is no such thing as causation that goes wrong. It does what it does, it is infallible by its nature. Whereas at every step, the possibility of error hovers over computation.
Causal processes don't inherently require continuous energy input. Strike the cue ball, and the billiards will take care of themselves. Whereas in a computational process, to proceed requires energy at every step. Cut the power, occlude the cerebral artery, and the computation comes to a screeching halt.
Communication would seem to require encoding, transmission, and decoding. A causal process sandwiched between two computational ones?
What is computation? — Count Timothy von Icarus
I would say in the other way: if you think that computation and causation are equivalent, then you think that mathematics and physics are equivalent. Not just that physics is accurately modeled using mathematics.Great OP, and I am still grappling with it. I think where you lose me is the notion that computation and causation are somehow equivalent. — hypericin
I would say in the other way: if you think that computation and causation are equivalent, then you think that mathematics and physics are equivalent.
In terms of grouping rocks together, it's probably easier to conceptualize how the cognition of "there are two rocks over there," and "there are 12 rocks over there," requires some sort of computational process to produce the thought "there are 14 rocks in total." — Count Timothy von Icarus
Wouldn't physics generally be answering the question of "if nature acts in such-and-such a fashion how will nature respond?" — Count Timothy von Icarus
In general, scientific models are supposed to be about "the way the world is," not games. I don't think such interpretations were ever particularly popular with practicing scientists, hence why the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, which is very close to logical positivism, had to be enforced from above by strict censorship and pressure campaigns. — Count Timothy von Icarus
Do you really wish to promote the possibilities that exist in relation to a model to the status of objective reality, given the fact that possibilities aren't scientifically testable or observable?
But as Bertrand Russell pointed out, the notion of causality is objectively redundant. e.g, what does the notion of causality add to a description of the Earth orbiting the Sun?
I referenced cognition because the most popular models of how the brain works are computational — Count Timothy von Icarus
It is actually incredibly difficult to define "computer" in such a way that just our digital and mechanical computers, or things like brains, are computers, but the Earth's atmosphere or a quasar is not,without appealing to subjective semantic meaning or arbitrary criteria not grounded in the physics of those systems. — Count Timothy von Icarus
The mistake I mean to point out is that we generally take 10÷2 to be the same thing as 5. Even adamant mathematical Platonists seem to be nominalists about computation. An algorithm that specifies a given object, say a number, "is just a name for that number." — Count Timothy von Icarus
If the state of a computer C2 follows from a prior state C1, what do we call the process by which C1 becomes C2? Computation. Abstractly, this is also what we call the process of turning something like 10 ÷ 2 into 5.
What do we call the phenomena where by a physical system in state S1 becomes S2 due to physical interactions defined by the laws of physics and their entailments? Causation. — Count Timothy von Icarus
And transforming numbers from one form to another, like the transformation of all information, requires work. This work of transforming information from one form to another is called "computation". Does that sound reasonable?
What makes computers special is that they are not bound by physical, causal reality. It is as if, in them, the informational component of reality broke free of the physical component.
If pancomputationalism seems nonsensical, the best way to see where the idea is coming from is to try to define what a computer is in physical terms and how it differs from other systems. — Count Timothy von Icarus
Given a mindless universe, could universals/abstract objects exist? I would tend to think not, but that's pretty far afield. — Count Timothy von Icarus
This output will include the pages of every novel ever written by a human being, plus many yet to be written. — Count Timothy von Icarus
But you're not saying only minded things compute, right? — Count Timothy von Icarus
I think most computation is unobserved though. Is it enough to see the final output of a computational process?some mind has to observe the computational process in order for computation to occur.
Whatever is recorded by instruments remains data until it's interpreted. Data comprises units of information which in themselves do not carry any specific meaning. Information is a set of data units that collectively carries a logical meaning. It also should be recalled that computers are human instruments, extensions of human sensory and intellectual capacities, designed to perform those tasks. — Wayfarer
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