Living Computation Concepts

In reading David Ackley's work and thinking about and implementing these ideas, a few concepts have really stuck with me as significant.

Bespoke physics for living computation

This is really the idea that got me interested in this in the first place. We know intelligent life is possible, but the amount of matter it takes to make living things and the incredible scale of time it took to evolve them is disheartening for the would-be life creator. But what if we knew an environment that was rich with life that was not only robust to environmental changes but also useful for computation.

Surviving in a corosive digital environment

Once I added dreg and gamma rays to my simulatation, I knew what a corrosive digital environment looked like and I could design for it. There are different kinds of persistent structures, but all of them rely on distributing information so it can be recovered when the structure is lost.

Hide and Heal

Just by adding a check to my simulator that resets atoms with invalid IDs, suddenly the effects of simulated bit flips errors was greatly mitigated. On a normal computer, blanking any data structure that has an invalid key would not only be insane, it would make programming almost impossible. A robust program, though, has no trouble with this because atoms go missing all the time.

One thing I have yet to see is the importance of indefinite scalability. Perhaps once my computational needs exceed what I can simulate on just my one computer I'll start looking at ways to connect computers by conventional means.