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Re: [ontolog-forum] FW: Formal or functional specifications

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:36:42 -0400
Message-id: <535413BA.4020000@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Bruce and Hans,    (01)

Ashby's point is true because it's so underspecified that you can't
state a counterexample in any language that has variables:    (02)

Bruce S
> "A system is a collection of variables".
> See http://originresearch.com/docs/DesignForABrain.pdf    (03)

Ashby published the first edition in 1952 and this revised edition
in 1960.  For a more recent "design for a brain", I'd recommend
the following version by James Albus (2010):    (04)

    A model of computation and representation in the brain    (05)

Albus was an engineer who used ideas from neuroscience to make
important innovations in designing robot controllers:    (06)

 From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Albus
> In 1971, he published a new theory of cerebellar function that modified
> and extended a previous theory published by David Marr in 1969...
> Based on his cerebellar model, Albus invented a new type of neural net
> computer, the Cerebellar Model Articulation Controller (CMAC), for
> which he received the IR-100 award from Industrial Research Magazine as
> one of the 100 most important industrial innovations of the year 1976.    (07)

Hans P
> Too bad that this institutional perspective and frame of reference is
> left as “an exercise for the student” in much of system engineering
> and is usually left mostly implicit rather than explicitly delimited
> and specified.    (08)

That "institutional perspective and frame of reference" gets into the
functional specifications that I was trying to emphasize.  When we're
talking about sharing and reuse, the issues about what it does (i.e.,
its function) are more important than the details about is form and
structure.    (09)

But sometimes, information about its form and structure can inspire
an engineer (such as Albus) to design a functional replacement with
different kinds of materials.  The models by Albus had variables,
but the choice of variables was tightly constrained.    (010)

I discuss the Albus model briefly (slide 42 of the following) and
compare it to other systems (earlier and later slides) of
http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/goal2.pdf    (011)

John    (012)

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