Living Computation & Postdeterministic Digital Design
Traditional computing machines must provide total predictability or else halt unconditionally — but such ‘hardware determinism’ requires increasingly heroic engineering as demands on the machine grow while its components shrink. We are developing the ‘Movable Feast Machine’, an indefinitely scalable computer architecture that abandons hardware determinism and accepts merely best-effort performance from hardware and software both. Using the new programming language ‘ulam’, we demonstrate simple software designed for best-effort conditions, employing lifelike strategies such as growth, healing, opportunistic reproduction, and distributed, collaborative action. In addition to suggesting routes towards vast growth in computational scale and robustness, postdeterministic design offers reframed and expanded computing concepts of potential use in cognitive science, organizational and social action theory, and computational thinking.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017