X-Message-Number: 25980
Date: Mon, 04 Apr 2005 10:57:40 -0700
From: Pat Clancy <>
Subject: reply to Thomas Donaldson Re: reply to Yvan Bozzonetti
References: <>

> As for the scanty comments you made in your message, I will point out
> that parallel computers can do things impossible for any single 
> computer.

Actually this is not correct, though it is a common misperception. Any 
single processor computer can do anything that any multi-processor can 
do - it may just take longer. A textbook on computer theory will confirm 
this. Think in terms of algorithms: all computers execute algorithms 
(and that's all they can do), and any algorithm, whether or not it is 
specified using parallel threads of control, can be executed by any 
computer (given sufficient memory), no matter how many processors it has 
or how they're connected.

However this is not an argument for the possibility of implementing 
brains using computers (which in my view is and forever will be 
impossible). Just the opposite: if you believe that the mind is not an 
algorithm, then the fact that all computer architectures are 
fundamentally equivalent means that no computer architecture, no matter 
how massively parallel, can implement a mind.

Which is not to say that there isn't some type of artificial substrate 
that _could_ implement a mind; it just has to be something that 
functions in a way equivalent to a brain, and not a computer.

Pat Clancy

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