Chapter 12: The Principle of Computational Equivalence

Section 11: Implications for Technology

Components for technology

The Principle of Computational Equivalence suggests that a vast range of systems in nature can all ultimately be used to make computers. But it is remarkable to what extent even the components of present-day computer systems involve elements of nature originally studied for quite different reasons. Examples include electricity, semiconductors (used for chips), ferrites (used for magnetic storage), liquid crystals (used for displays), piezoelectricity (used for microphones), total internal reflection (used for optical fibers), stimulated emission (used for lasers) and photoconductivity (used for xerographic printing).

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From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]