The 1971 doctoral thesis of Edwin Roger Banks describes a
novel way to build an ordinary computer. Instead of creating
the computer out of wires and transistors and diodes, Banks
creates his machine out of information and rules. This
commentary will examine Banks' reasoning and methods, and
illustrate the structures he devised.
Part 1 lays out the
background in some detail by describing first the system of
logic used by computers, and then the common engineering
methods of implementing that logic.
Part 2 describes the
computing concept known as cellular automata, which is the
particular medium that Banks is working with.
Part 3 describes
and illustrates the actual methods employed by Banks to build
a computer by information transformation according to simple
Part 4 comments briefly on the significance of the
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