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Does Changing Configuration Make A New Machine? | 756 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Does Changing Configuration Make A New Machine?
Authored by: PolR on Monday, July 23 2012 @ 01:18 PM EDT
You forget the machine structure. A Wright Flyer is a new machine structure. A
programmed computer is not.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Does Changing Configuration Make A New Machine?
Authored by: Imaginos1892 on Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 05:13 PM EDT
I can't tell if you're pretending to be stupid, or demonstrating the real thing. Your blind
persistence in pushing an obviously invalid analogy gets....wearing. But, since you insist:

Define all the properties of wood, and enumerate every possible value for each one.
Then do the same for canvas, rope, pulleys, and all the other materials used to make
the Flyer. Then define and enumerate all possible ways they can be combined. Go
ahead - if the analogy were valid, it could be done.

Of course, you can't do it. Nobody even knows all the properties of any of the materials,
or all the values for the ones we do know about, or all the possible ways they could be
combined. There are billions of possible values for "a wooden strut 75 cm +/- 5mm in
length". Every tree grows differently. Every pulley is made out of inexact parts.

On the other hand, we CAN demonstrate, mathematically, that every possible state
of a computer can be enumerated, and specify a procedure by which this task can be
accomplished. Why? Because while the computer is also constructed of materials
having many complex properties, the circuits are carefully designed to compensate for
variations in material and construction, and to precisely express the values of bits. The
computer is deliberately limited so that it can do nothing else.

A bit is an artificially created abstract entity that has exactly one property, with the
mutually exclusive values of 0 and 1. Giving a bit a value of 0 is trivial and obvious. Giving
a bit a value of 1 is trivial and obvious. Giving two bits a value of 00, 01, 10 or 11 is trivial
and obvious. Giving 3 bits a value of 000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110 or 111 is trivial and
obvious. Setting any finite number of bits to any of their possible states is trivial and obvious.
Enumerating all possible combinations of any finite number of bits is trivial and obvious. There
is no possibility of uncertainty, ambiguity, indeterminate or unexpected results; such things
are precluded by the definition of "bit", and any deviation from exact deterministic behavior
is an error, and outside the scope of the computer's intended purpose.

On the day that a computer is built, it is capable of running any program that will fit within the
constraints of its hardware. Setting a bit, or a million bits, or ten billion bits to a specific state
to make some particular use of that capability is an obvious operation trivially derived from the
computer's design, and does not change its function or purpose in any way.
--------------------------------
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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