A revolutionary new computer based on the apparent chaos of nature can reprogram itself if it finds a fault
OUT of chaos, comes order. A computer that mimics the apparent randomness found in nature can instantly recover from crashes by repairing corrupted data. Dubbed a “systemic” computer, the self-repairing machine now operating at University College London (UCL) could keep mission-critical systems working. For instance, it could allow drones to reprogram themselves to cope with combat damage, or help create more realistic models of the human brain.
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.” …
… Rather than using a program counter, the [new] 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.
It doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does. Bentley will tell a conference on evolvable systems in Singapore in April that it works much faster than expected. …
Read more: newscientist.com
Self-growing, self-repairing, self-improving artificial intelligence systems are probably already doing amazing things that we have not heard about.