On implementing a computation

Minds and Machines 4 (4):391-402 (1994)
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Abstract

To clarify the notion of computation and its role in cognitive science, we need an account of implementation, the nexus between abstract computations and physical systems. I provide such an account, based on the idea that a physical system implements a computation if the causal structure of the system mirrors the formal structure of the computation. The account is developed for the class of combinatorial-state automata, but is sufficiently general to cover all other discrete computational formalisms. The implementation relation is non-vacuous, so that criticisms by Searle and others fail. This account of computation can be extended to justify the foundational role of computation in artificial intelligence and cognitive science.

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David Chalmers
New York University

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References found in this work

Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Knowledge and the flow of information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.
On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem.Alan Turing - 1936 - Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society 42 (1):230-265.

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