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Conservative Logic

November 2nd, 2010 11:16 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Edward Fredkin and Tommoasso Toffoli from the MIT Labratory for Computer Science present Conservative Logic

a comprehensive model of computation which explicitly reflects a number of

fundamental principles of physics, such as the reversibility of the dynamical laws and the

conservation of certain additive quantities (among which energy plays a distinguished role). Because

it more closely mirrors physics than traditional models of computation, conservative logic is in a

better position to provide indications concerning the realization of high-performance computing

systems, i.e., of systems that make very efficient use of the “computing resources” actually offered by

nature. In particular, conservative logic shows that it is ideally possible to build sequential circuits

with zero internal power dissipation. After establishing a general framework, we discuss two specific

models of computation. The first uses binary variables and is the conservative-logic counterpart of

switching theory; this model proves that universal computing capabilities are compatible with the

reversibility and conservation constraints. The second model, which is a refinement of the first,

constitutes a substantial breakthrough in establishing a correspondence between computation and

physics. In fact, this model is based on elastic collisions of identical “balls,” and thus is formally

identical with the atomic model that underlies the (classical) kinetic theory of perfect gases. Quite

literally, the functional behavior of a general-purpose digital computer can be reproduced by a perfect

gas placed in a suitably shaped container and given appropriate initial conditions.

This paper has a small discussion in a forum thread mostly saying the paper should be on the front page.

Source: Conservative Logic

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