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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Mathematics and computer science: Key to the future | Research & Innovation - Open Access Government

Dr John Yardley, Managing Director of Threads Software Ltd, details precisely why mathematics and computer science are key to the future.

Photo: © Maciek905
Many people associate mathematics with topics such as arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, algebra and calculus when, in fact, it is more far-reaching than that. It encompasses the whole philosophy of dealing not just with numbers, but with logic and the validity of logical propositions. We have all heard computers described as number crunchers or glorified calculators, but the mathematical basis for computers is far more fundamental than defining, say, what the product of two numbers or the area under a curve might be.

The extent to which mathematics a fundamental intellectual tool in computing today
Indeed, mathematics is about as fundamental to computing as you can get. It was Turing’s original 1938 paper On Computable Numbers…” that laid the foundations of modern-day computers. His paper was a mathematical thesis and published in a learned mathematical journal. However, besides the formal description of logic and the calculations involved in the engineering design of computers – which are, of course, significant – I am not sure that mathematics now plays a significant role in either their design or their use...

...Research today should not simply be about what we can do with computers, but what can we represent digitally. We know that neurons are the fundamental “computing” units of the human brain. These can be simulated digitally, so in theory, there is no reason why a simulated brain would not behave exactly as the human brain it copies. Whether it is self-aware is perhaps not a relevant question, but it would be able to fool another human being that it was self-aware. Indeed, that is exactly Turing’s definition of machine intelligence.
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Source: Open Access Government