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Morphological Computation: Nothing but Physical Computation

Miłkowski, Marcin (2018) Morphological Computation: Nothing but Physical Computation. Entropy, 20 (12). p. 942. ISSN 1099-4300

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The purpose of this paper is to argue against the claim that morphological computation is substantially different from other kinds of physical computation. I show that some (but not all) purported cases of morphological computation do not count as specifically computational, and that those that do are solely physical computational systems. These latter cases are not, however, specific enough: all computational systems, not only morphological ones, may (and sometimes should) be studied in various ways, including their energy efficiency, cost, reliability, and durability. Second, I critically analyze the notion of “offloading” computation to the morphology of an agent or robot, by showing that, literally, computation is sometimes not offloaded but simply avoided. Third, I point out that while the morphology of any agent is indicative of the environment that it is adapted to, or informative about that environment, it does not follow that every agent has access to its morphology as the model of its environment.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Miłkowski, Marcin0000-0001-7646-5742
Keywords: morphological computation, physical computation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
Depositing User: Dr. Marcin Miłkowski
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2019 18:36
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2019 18:36
Item ID: 15553
Journal or Publication Title: Entropy
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
Date: 2018
Page Range: p. 942
Volume: 20
Number: 12
ISSN: 1099-4300

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