Systemic Computer Is Self-Repairing
A self-repairing machine created at the University College London (UCL) mimics the apparent randomness found in nature and can instantly recover from crashes by repairing corrupted data.
Everyday computers are ill suited to modelling natural processes such as how neurons work or how bees swarm. This is because they plod along sequentially, executing one instruction at a time. "Nature isn't like that," says UCL computer scientist Peter Bentley. "Its processes are distributed, decentralised and probabilistic. And they are fault tolerant, able to heal themselves. A computer should be able to do that."
He and UCL's Christos Sakellariou have created a computer in which data is married up with instructions on what to do with it. For example, it links the temperature outside with what to do if it's too hot. It then divides the results up into pools of digital entities called "systems".
Each system has a memory containing context-sensitive data that means it can only interact with other, similar systems. Rather than using a program counter, the systems are executed at times chosen by a pseudorandom number generator, designed to mimic nature's randomness. The systems carry out their instructions simultaneously, with no one system taking precedence over the others, says Bentley. "The pool of systems interact in parallel, and randomly, and the result of a computation simply emerges from those interactions," he says.
Crucially, the systemic computer contains multiple copies of its instructions distributed across its many systems, so if one system becomes corrupted the computer can access another clean copy to repair its own code. And unlike conventional operating systems that crash when they can't access a bit of memory, the systemic computer carries on regardless because each individual system carries its own memory.
The pair are now working on teaching the computer to rewrite its own code in response to changes in its environment, through machine learning.
In thinking about this device with respect to science fiction, I was reminded of the android Ruk from the classic Star Trek episode What Little Girls Are Made Of; Ruk is able to slowly recapitulate his orders and programming from the Old Ones under stress. Readers may be able to think of others.
Via New Scientist.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/21/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...' - Neal Stephenson, 1992.
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...
IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'
FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'
Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.
Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'
Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'
Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'
Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.
When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'
SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.
Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'
Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.
Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories