- 59 Downloads
A brief analysis of analog computation is presented, taking into account both historical and more modern statements. I show that two very different concepts are tangled together in some of the literature—namely continuous valued computation and analogy machines. I argue that a more general concept, that of model-based computation, can help us untangle this misconception. A two-dimensional view of computation is offered, in which this model-based dimension is orthogonal to the dimension concerning the type of variables used in components. I argue that this is a useful framework for assessing alternative computing devices and computational claims in an expanding landscape of computation.
KeywordsModel Computation Analog
I would like to thank Bernd Ulmann for introducing me to my own errors on the foundations of analog computation, and for motivating this present analysis. Among others, Michael Cuffaro, Ulrike Hahn, Stephan Hartmann, Christian Leibold, Gregory Wheeler, and Richard Whyman provided substantial feedback and discussion of the topic during the writing of this paper.
- Beebe C (2016) Model-based computation. In: Amos M, Condon A (eds) Proceedings of unconventional computation and natural computation: 15th international conference, UCNC 2016, Manchester, UK, 11–15 July 2016, pp 75–86Google Scholar
- Clark A (2013) Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science. Behav Brain Sci 36(3):181–204Google Scholar
- Craik K (1943) The nature of explanation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Dardashti R, Thébaut K, Winsberg E (2015) Confirmation via analogue simulation: what dumb holes could tell us about gravity. Br J Philos Sci 68(1):55–89Google Scholar
- Davis R, Hamscher W (1988) Model-based reasoning: troubleshooting. Memorandum AI Memo 1059, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Naval ResearchGoogle Scholar
- Esser S, Merolla P, Arthur J, Cassidy A, Appuswamy R, Andreopoulos A, Berg D, McKinstry J, Melano T, Barch D, di Nolfo C, Datta P, Amir A, Taba B, Flickner M, Modha D (2016) Convolutional networks for fast, energy-efficient neuromorphic computing. In: Proceedings of the national academy of sciencesGoogle Scholar
- Frigg R, Hartmann S (2012) Models in science. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, StanfordGoogle Scholar
- Neumann JV (1963) The general and logical theory of automata. In: Taub AH (ed) John von Neumann collected works, vol V: design of computers, theory of automata and numerical analysis. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 288–326Google Scholar
- Rubel LA (1985) The brain as an analog computer. J Theor Neurobiol 4:73–81Google Scholar
- Thagard P (2010) How brains make mental models. In: Magnani L et al (eds) Model-based reasoning in science and technology, vol 314. SCI, Springer, pp 447–461Google Scholar