Embodied Computation

Heiko Hamann, Heinz Wörn
Parallel Processing Letters 17(3) (2007), 287-298


The traditional computational devices and models, such as the von Neumann ar-
chitecture or the Turing machine, are strongly influenced by concepts of central control
and perfection. The standard models of computation seem to cover the reality of com-
putation only partially and lack, in particular, in the ability to describe more natural
forms of computation. In this paper we propose the concept of embodied computation,
a straight forward advancement of well known concepts such as amorphous comput-
ing, emergent phenomena and embodied cognitive science. Many embodied microscopic
computational devices form a single macroscopic device of embodied computation. The
solution to computational problems emerges from a huge amount of local interactions.
The system’s memory is the sum of the positional information and possibly of the inter-
nal states. Such systems are very robust and allow different methodologies to analyze
computation. To back this theoretic concept some results based on simulations are given
and potential benefits of this approach are discussed.

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