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The representational entity in physical computing

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JournalNatural Computing
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Sep 2020
DatePublished (current) - 18 Sep 2020
Original languageEnglish


We have developed abstraction/representation (AR) theory to answer the question “When does a physical system compute?” AR theory requires the existence of a representational entity (RE), but the vanilla theory does not explicitly include the RE in its definition of physical computing. Here we extend the theory by showing how the RE forms a linked complementary model to the physical computing model. We show that the RE does not need to be a human brain, by demonstrating its use in the case of intrinsic computing in a non-human RE: a bacterium.

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© The Author(s) 2020

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