Objectual filosis

8.5 Artificial information processing systems

When we are talking about artificial information processing systems (AIPS), most of our readers would probably think to computers. Well, it is not the computer which is the first system of this kind but… the instruments for the measurement of different sizes (mass, length, time, angle etc.), and these instruments are operational for thousands of years, indeed, under primitive yet functional forms. Let us not forget that the pyramids, the Egyptian, Greek and Roman temples, all the wonders of the Ancient times have been built based on such instruments. Besides, who can ever imagine the trade without one of its basic tools- the balance- whose Roman version may be even found nowadays.

You will probably ask yourselves, what is the relation between the weighing machines and the information processing? Although it is not obvious at all, there is one link, however: all the measuring instruments operate with ISS, but this time, we are not dealing with internal ISS (of the human IPS), but with the external ISS. For example, the angle between the lead-weight wire and the edge of a wall was an indicator of the deviation of that wall edge from the vertical direction; this wire was therefore a verticality reference, an ISS of the local vertical direction information, on which the mason was perceiving it with his visual sense, being able to use it afterwards as an element in the decision to continue the wall construction or to rebuild it. The angle of the pointer within a weighing machine against a bench-mark is also an external ISS, more precisely an indicator of the information that the two weights placed on its scales are not equal. The perception of the information which is contained into the external ISS is made in this case with the visual system. In fact, most of these external ISS are meant to the visual perception system, that is the system through which the human receives an external information amount which is much higher than the one captured through his other senses.

However, let us return to the information processing. It is clear that the measuring systems which were previously mentioned were not making the information processing by themselves, but they were only converting an attribute which was beyond the human’s direct perception range into another directly perceptible attribute. The information processing was also made by the human brain, but based on the information contained into the external ISS. The only common element between the above-mentioned instruments and the artificial processing systems is the presence of external ISS, material systems which make-up the basis of any IPS, as we have seen in the previous paragraph. The next step on the way to the artificial information processing systems (AIPS) was the invention of the instruments which were using the memorizing (storage) process of ISS, process which is indispensable for the instruments which are based on a counting (numbering) of a periodical process. For example, this kind of process is specific to the mechanical clocks (with pendulum or balance wheel) which are designed to count the cycles of a very stable periodical process (oscillation of the pendulum or of the balance wheel) and to display this number, either as an angle of some pointers or digitally. This counting process has an universal algorithm: the increment by an unit of an ISS which keeps stored the number of the already finished periodical processes, starting from the instrument’s escapement setting moment. In case of the mechanical clocks, that particular increment is made at the angular position of a gear wheel, at every oscillation of the pendulum, by advancing tooth by tooth and afterwards, the clock’s mechanism (ISS) shall convert this rotation in order to display minutes, hours, etc.

Therefore, the time measuring devices presented so far operate with ISS and use the storage and increment of an ISS value in order to achieve their specific functions. But the increment (modification) of the value of an ISS is already an operation of the information processing contained by that ISS, which is a basic operation, with no result-based reaction, but which is still an operation. From the mechanical clock, that is an AIPS with a single operation, up to AIPS (mechanical as well) which is able to perform mathematical computing, there was only one step….

Nowadays, AIPS systems are electronic (most of them, but there are also other versions: fluidic, photonic etc.) which similarly with the natural IPS, they have a structure with few types of elements which may be found at all the AIPS versions. The essential elements, and these are the internal ISS which in case of the electronic AIPS are free electrical charges from conductor or semiconductor materials, charges whose group attributes (intensity of the electrical or magnetic field) are the attributes perceptible by IPS as an associated and transmissible information. These internal ISS are able to circulate across specific pre-established routes (the internal communication thoroughfare) as specific internal fluxes of ISS, fluxes which carry the associated information towards all the AIPS components. Just like the natural IPS, the fluxes are also confined in a global RBS, all the AIPS components being included inside this surface, and the same as in case of other MS, its role is to isolate the system from the unwanted fluxes (disturbing fluxes) which might disturb the system’s operation, and to provide the closure of the internal fluxes. On this RBS, there are specialized zones which allow the admission of external fluxes, or these fluxes may come out, and in case of AIPS, these zones are referred to as “ports”, and similarly with the natural IPS, they have selective permeability for a specific flux type, permeability which is controlled from inside of AIPS. In case of AIPS, these input or output fluxes are also internal ISS fluxes (electric charges as well), therefore a transfer of SSI between AIPS is possible, unlike the natural IPS which are not able to communicate each other through internal ISS, but only through conversion fluxes. Thus, a first advantage of AIPS against the biotic IPS occurs, that is the possibility of their interconnection62 in order to make-up complex AIPS (systems which are distributed or centralized AIPS).

By returning to the AIPS structure, the ISS input fluxes reach through the communication thoroughfare to one or more information processing units, the only types of AIPS components able to perceive the structure of the internal ISS and to change this structure according to the information processing rules. This processing unit (known as processor, within the current systems) has a finite set of elementary operations which are designed by construction, operations which can be organized in finite sets known as programs. All the operations performed by the processing unit have the internal ISS as their operands (objects subjected to the operations), which are either recently admitted into the system through one of the ports, or they are already stored (memorized) ISS at locations (addresses) known in various types of internal memory.

All the operations which are possible to occur in the processing unit take place sequentially (time phased) based on an internal clock (tact generator), whose internal information makes possible the differentiation by the processor of the evolution trend of a process and henceforth, of two state types of an ISS - the present and the previous ones.

62 When we are talking about the impossibility of biotic IPS connection, we are referring to two or more neural IPS belonging to the same number of distinct organisms. But, inside a neural IPS of a specific organism, the neurons interconnection in networks is however a normal situation, even mandatory, for increasing the information processing abilities. This interconnection, achieved by means of synapses, which preserve the spatial separation of the neurons is made through unidirectional neuromediators fluxes.

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