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Showing posts with the label George Cantor

What is computation? An introduction for humans

It occurs to me that in this age ruled by computers many people do not know what computation is.

If you feel you know what makes a computer "compute" you must be able to describe it no? What renders a lifeless collection of transistors and voltages into a working all emulating computer? If you cannot answer then your entire understanding of computers is completely spiritual and religious in my view - an entire practice of assuming (its not wrong its just not provably correct)! A simple experiment I always play on my non-Computer Scientist friends (perhaps very cruelly lol) is to ask them how a computer manages to check if two numbers are equal? "How do you write or design a machine that computes equality? Does it just magically calculate it as equal? How does it "weight" the numbers? Well how does it know the weights are the same?"

This illusively counter intuitive question brings to light the very underpinning of all logic on computers: equality and of …