Principle of Computational Equivalence

Almost all processes that are not obviously simple can be viewed as computations of equivalent sophistication (Wolfram 2002, pp. 5 and 716-717).

More specifically, the principle of computational equivalence says that systems found in the natural world can perform computations up to a maximal ("universal") level of computational power, and that most systems do in fact attain this maximal level of computational power. Consequently, most systems are computationally equivalent. For example, the workings of the human brain or the evolution of weather systems can, in principle, compute the same things as a computer. Computation is therefore simply a question of translating inputs and outputs from one system to another.

See also

Automata Theory, Church's Theorem, Computation, Computational Irreducibility, Dynamical System, Mathematical Paradigm, Ruliad, Universal Turing Machine

Portions of this entry contributed by Todd Rowland

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Wolfram, S. "The Principle of Computational Equivalence." Ch. 12 in A New Kind of Science. Champaign, IL: Wolfram Media, pp. 5-6 and 715-846, 2002.

Cite this as:

Rowland, Todd and Weisstein, Eric W. "Principle of Computational Equivalence." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

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