25 October 2007

Abstract machines

From The Geomblog: "Made in the USA" can be Revitalized, in yesterday's San Jose Mercury-News, by Ken Goldberg and Vijay Kumar.

As Suresh puts it, they want to Put the Turing in Manufac-turing" -- to bring manufacturing to a higher level of abstraction, so that manufacturing processes can be understood independent of the particular substrate they lie on.

Eventually figuring out how to manufacture things could become another branch of the analysis of algorithms. And even if it doesn't, thinking at a higher level of abstraction might enable people to conceptualize more complex manufacturing processes -- and manufacturing processes will become more complex in the future.

Finally, it doesn't seem surprising that this article was published in San Jose -- the city that perhaps more than any other was transformed by the abstraction of computing.

p. s. The simplest possible Turing machine is actually universal.

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