Leibniz may have been the first computer scientist and information theorist.
in life, he documented the binary numeral
(base <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radix> 2), then revisited that system
and algorithmic information
His calculus ratiocinator<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus_ratiocinator>
aspects of the universal Turing
In 1934, Norbert Wiener <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norbert_Wiener>claimed
to have found in Leibniz's writings a mention of the concept of
central to Wiener's later cybernetic<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics>
In 1671, Leibniz began to invent a machine that could execute all four
arithmetical operations, gradually improving it over a number of years.
This "Stepped Reckoner <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepped_Reckoner>"
attracted fair attention and was the basis of his election to the Royal
Society <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Society> in 1673. A number of
such machines were made during his years in
by a craftsman working under Leibniz's supervision. It was not an
unambiguous success because it did not fully mechanize the operation of
carrying. Couturat reported finding an unpublished note by Leibniz, dated
1674, describing a machine capable of performing some algebraic operations.
also devised a (now reproduced) cipher machine, recovered by Nicholas
Rescher <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Rescher> in
Leibniz was groping towards hardware and software concepts worked out much
later by Charles Babbage <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Babbage>
and Ada Lovelace <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace>. In 1679,
while mulling over his binary arithmetic, Leibniz imagined a machine in
which binary numbers were represented by marbles, governed by a rudimentary
sort of punched
electronic digital computers replace Leibniz's marbles moving by gravity
with shift registers, voltage gradients, and pulses of electrons, but
otherwise they run roughly as Leibniz envisioned in 1679.
On Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 11:15 PM, Roger Clough <rclo...@verizon.net> wrote:
> Dear Prof. Tegmark,
> I have been trying to think of a way to make computationalism work
> but I can see no force that numbers might have on the physical world
> that might empower them.
> Instead I see computationalism as a form of magic. Serious magic if you
> but still magic, magic in the sense that saying the proper magic words or
> drawing certain figures or performing certain incantations or rituals will
> cause things to happen, presumably in imitation of those forms.
> But even though it is a form of magic, it may be that the numbers
> can be causal in some paranormal sense, if you can accept Leibniz's
> view that ideas seek perfection and physical realization is the
> highest perfection. If you can accept that, you might give some
> acceptance to the idea, and that actions can be preformed
> by intentions.
> Dr. Roger B Clough NIST (ret.) [1/1/2000]
> See my Leibniz site at
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