Multicellular Computing

SteveBurbeck suggests that the biological innovations that arose with multi-cellular organisms are the ones most likely to prove fruitful as inspiration for present-day computer architecture.

We compare Cybords to the principles Steve offers on slide 24 of his 2004 presentation, Complexity and the Evolution of Computing: Metaphors for Managing Emergent Systems, available here: http://www.runningempty. ... 20Complexity.pdf

Summary of Derived Principles

  • Seek specialization and avoid monoculture
    • move complexity from within individual cells to the diversity of the collaborating group of cells
    • an infection, like a cold, should be able to infect only a small proportion of the cells
    • use autonomic computing techniques to manage that diversity

Cybords distribute computing responsibilities among initially identical, but specifically programmed computers. All aspects of Cyboards have been made open and inexpensive to encourage (human mediated) evolution.

  • Base collaboration on messaging, never code transfer
    • Be stingy with language interpreters and be careful what powers you allow them

The BynaseProtocol relieves cybord computers from any form of synchronous behavior, even while exchanging information. Bynase abandons PositionalNotation in favor of statistical signaling which must be observed over time in order to detect any message.

  • Self is a property of attachment to the stigmergic structure, not of the individual cell
    • Keep your eye on the persistent, perhaps boring, data and networks, not the flashier computing stuff

The architecture of a Cybord computation rests in the wires that connect them, not the programs that run them. FoamCore is emerging as the dominant structural substrate.

  • One cell is never more important than the multicellular “self”
    • Apoptosis is your friend. If the cell strays, kill it. If the hand offends, cut it off

Cybord computers are routinely reset and reprogrammed in-place without halting the running of the remainder of the system. Stray communications that result are averaged out over time.


Last edited April 16, 2006
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