Living Computation and Postdeterministic Digital Design

Dave Ackley, University of New Mexico


Date: 2017-02-15
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Room 1202, CSE Building, UC San Diego

Guest Speaker: Dave Ackley, University of New Mexico
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Host: The Design Lab


This seminar with  University of New Mexico computer science professor Dave Ackley is part of the Design@Large Lecture Series organized by the Design Lab at UC San Diego.

Traditional computing machines must provide total predictability or else halt unconditionally --- but such 'hardware determinism' requires increasingly heroic engineering as demands on the machine grow while its components shrink.  We are developing the 'Movable Feast Machine', an indefinitely scalable computer architecture that abandons hardware determinism and accepts merely best-effort performance from hardware and software both.  Using the new programming language 'ulam', we demonstrate simple software designed for best-effort conditions, employing lifelike strategies such as growth, healing, opportunistic reproduction, and distributed, collaborative action.  In addition to suggesting routes towards vast growth in computational scale and robustness, postdeterministic design offers reframed and expanded computing concepts of potential use in cognitive science, organizational and social action theory, and computational thinking.


Dave Ackley is an associate professor of Computer Science at the University of New Mexico, with degrees from Tufts and Carnegie Mellon. Over thirty years his work has involved neural networks and machine learning, evolutionary algorithms and artificial life, and biological approaches to security, architecture, and models of computation.


Winter 2017 Quarter Lineup for Design@Large Lecture Series

February 22 - Chuck Goodwin, UCLA
March 1 - Paul Leonardi, UCSB
March 8 - Pamela Samuleson, UC Berkeley
March 15 - John Seely Brown, USC & Deloitte Center for the Edge & Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Ohio State