Emergent computation

Local-information-based ``self-organizing'' computation

Emergent computaion [Forrest] is a type of computation that is bottom-up and not globally nor totally programmed. Only local information or very limited amount of information is used for a unit of computation. However, certain global information structure, which is often unexpected, is emerged from this computation. This process is analogical to so-called self-organization in chemical processes, such as Belusov-Zabotinsky reaction [Prigogine] or physical processes, such as lazer oscillation [Haken]. Emergent computation has been deeply studied in Artificial Life [28].

Layered structure and emergent computation as a bottom-up process

A complex system usually has a layered structure. The system looks and behaves very differently in microscopic or lower level than in a macroscopic or higher level. A system based on emergent computation is not programmed in higher level. The information structure, or the result or solution of the computation, is basically built from microscopic level in a bottom-up manner, and the macroscopic structure is emerged from the microscopic computation. However, top-down information flow, which is emergent, is sometimes also important.

Bottom-up computation and adaptation or robustness

If the system is programmed in higher level, it cannot adapt to a change of requirements because the requirements are built-in. It is probably not possible to adapt to a change of environments too. However, a system based on emergent computation can (probably) adapt to a change of requirements or enviroments.

References for self-organizing computation

More detailed philosophical background of CCM, such as the relation to the self-organization paradigm [13], synergetics [9] or the systems philosophy [29] is discussed by Kanada and Hirokawa [17].

Y. Kanada (yasusi @ kanadas.com)
Created: 11/21/95, Modified: 5/6/2002.