I like Denning’s new definition for computation, information representations. I believe that it tends to the greater relationship that the mind shares with computing outside of a technology. I believe this touches on what we have learned this semester the most. When I signed up for my first semester of classes in CCT I was not aware of how much they would parallel. Even in 505, the technology my group is looking at the iPod and we talk about extended cognition. So yes, things have become clearer and this big picture of what communication, culture and technology is started developing. To me, CCT not only focuses on methods and means, but what lies behind those methods and means. We ask multiple questions, not only How are we doing this? But also: Why are we doing this? Can we improve our process? What are other people doing?
Simon takes a different approach with the idea that symbols rely on the environment to determine their meaning. Symbols have to be physical real world things “…fabricated of glass and metal (computers) or flesh and blood (brains)” (p.22) This follows his ideas on computing; where computer parts are unreliable and we have to compensate for that by organizing the different (unreliable) parts in a way that works for us. Also, each function only becomes relevant once is it applied to the whole system. I think I understand what Simon is saying, but I am not sure it is something I groove to.
In the Wegner reading he says, “The radical notion that interactive systems are more powerful problem-solving engines than algorithms is the basis for a new paradigm for computing technology built around the unifying concept of interaction”
Can an interactive system be considered an algorithm with interruption and adjustment included? There is still the idea of going through a process of categorizing, but instead of waiting for the outcome to be produced from an algorithm, there is an opportunity to adjust that process to receive a different outcome… maybe?
Denning, Peter (2010) “What Is Computation?” Originally published in Ubiquity (ACM)
Simon, Herbert (1996) The Sciences of the Artificial. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Excerpt.
Wegner, Peter (1997) “Why Interaction Is More Powerful Than Algorithms.” Communications of the ACM 40, no. 5: 80–91.