Evolved Computing Devices and the Implementation Problem

Minds and Machines 17 (3):311-329 (2007)
The evolutionary circuit design is an approach allowing engineers to realize computational devices. The evolved computational devices represent a distinctive class of devices that exhibits a specific combination of properties, not visible and studied in the scope of all computational devices up till now. Devices that belong to this class show the required behavior; however, in general, we do not understand how and why they perform the required computation. The reason is that the evolution can utilize, in addition to the “understandable composition of elementary components”, material-dependent constructions and properties of environment (such as temperature, electromagnetic field etc.) and, furthermore, unknown physical behaviors to establish the required functionality. Therefore, nothing is known about the mapping between an abstract computational model and its physical implementation. The standard notion of computation and implementation developed in computer science as well as in cognitive science has become very problematic with the existence of evolved computational devices. According to the common understanding, the evolved devices cannot be classified as computing mechanisms
Keywords Computing mechanism   Evolutionary design   Evolvable hardware   Implementation problem
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