Unconventional computers can perform embodied computation that can directly exploit the natural dynamics of the substrate. But such in materio devices are often limited, special purpose machines. To be practically useful, unconventional devices are usually be combined with classical computers or control systems. However, there is currently no established way to do this, or to combine different unconventional devices.
In this position paper we describe heterotic unconventional computation, an approach that focusses on combinations of unconventional devices. This will need a sound semantic framework defining how diverse unconventional computational devices can be combined in a way that respects the intrinsic computational power of each, whilst yielding a hybrid device that is capable of more than the sum of its parts. We also describe a suite of diverse physical implementations of heterotic unconventional computers, comprising computation performed by bacteria hosted in chemically built material, sensed and controlled optically and chemically.
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@inproceedings(SS-UCNC12-het, author = "Susan Stepney and Samson Abramsky and Matthias Bechmann and Jerzy Gorecki and Viv Kendon and Thomas J. Naughton and Mario J. Perez-Jimenez and Francisco J. Romero-Campero and Angelika Sebald", title = "Heterotic computing examples with optics, bacteria, and chemicals", pages ="198-209", crossref = "UCNC12" ) @proceedings(UCNC12, title = "Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation 2012, Orleans, France, September 2012", booktitle = "Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation 2012, Orleans, France, September 2012", series = "LNCS", volume = 7445, publisher = "Springer", year = 2012 )