Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Physical computing

My understanding of computing is largely based upon physical principles such as orthogonal persistence and the conservation of information:
  • Orthogonal persistence: state is represented with directly modifiable objects that don't require specific save / load actions.
  • Conservation of information: information cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred and transformed.
Conversation of information is the basis of universal undo, which along with orthogonal persistence is a principle of good user interfaces. Parallelism is also a physical property, as there are always many things happening simultaneously at different places in the universe.

I believe that 21th century advances in self-configuring modular robotics will lead to programmable matter. Advancements in this area will unite physics and computing.

1 comment:

  1. for awhile I was enamored with adiabatic computing until I realized that DNA doesn't bother with that. DNA has to obey physical laws and uses energy every time any sequence is duplicated, but genes jump all around the chromosome and duplicate willy nilly. Conservation of information is cool when convenient but is also likely to be unwieldy the rest of the time.

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