The Role of the Representational Entity in Physical Computing

  • Susan StepneyEmail author
  • Viv Kendon
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11493)


We have developed abstraction/representation (AR) theory to answer the question “When does a physical system compute?” AR theory requires the existence of a representational entity (RE), but the vanilla theory does not explicitly include the RE in its definition of physical computing. Here we extend the theory by showing how the RE forms a linked complementary model to the physical computing model, and demonstrate its use in the case of intrinsic computing in a non-human RE: a bacterium.



We thank our colleagues Dom Horsman, Tim Clarke, and Peter Young, for illuminating discussions. VK is funded by UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant EP/L022303/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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