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Physical ComputationA Mechanistic Account$
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Gualtiero Piccinini

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658855.001.0001

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Primitive Components of Computing Mechanisms

Primitive Components of Computing Mechanisms

(p.152) 8 Primitive Components of Computing Mechanisms
Physical Computation

Gualtiero Piccinini

Oxford University Press

This chapter explicates the two broad classes of primitive components of computing mechanisms: computing components and non-computing components. Primitive computing components are primitive because they cannot be decomposed into smaller computing components. Robert Cummins is the only philosopher to devote significant attention to the primitive components of computing systems; the present account of primitive computing is contrasted with his account. A logic gate is an example of a primitive computing component. Non-computing components, whose function is other than computation, are still necessary for the functioning of the mechanism. Clocks and synchronization devices are among the most important non-computing components of concrete computing mechanisms.

Keywords:   primitive computing component, logic gate, non-computing component, synchronization devices, Robert Cummins

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