, Volume 93, Issue 2–4, pp 91–102

Aligning the representation and reality of computation with asynchronous logic automata


DOI: 10.1007/s00607-011-0160-1

Cite this article as:
Gershenfeld, N. Computing (2011) 93: 91. doi:10.1007/s00607-011-0160-1


There are many models of computation, but they all share the same underlying laws of physics. Software can represent physical quantities, but is not itself written with physical units. This division in representations, dating back to the origins of computer science, imposes increasingly heroic measures to maintain the fiction that software is executed in a virtual world. I consider instead an alternative approach, representing computation so that hardware and software are aligned at all levels of description. By abstracting physics with asynchronous logic automata I show that this alignment can not only improve scalability, portability, and performance, but also simplify programming and expand applications.


Logic automata Spatial computing Programming models Parallel computing Computer architecture 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

65F99 65Y04 65Y05 65Y10 68N15 68N17 68Q05 68W10 68W35 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Center for Bits and AtomsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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