Ideas that structure our world of Computer Science

• The history and development of computer science
• The traditional mathematical basis of computer science
• Computer science and "The Curious Idea of Intellectual Property"
• Implications of applying TCIIP to mathematics and to computer science
• Implications of applying TCIIP to technology

The history and development of computer science

• The first bit of mathematics that is particularly useful for computer science would probably be George Boole's development of Boolean Algebra in the 19th century. (Boole was a most remarkable individual, and if you ever need a real Horatio Alger story, you should study Boole's life).

The history and development of computer science

• Following that, probably the work in logic in the later 19th century and early 20th century by Frege, Russell, Whitehead — and certainly the work of Godel — are most apposite to our understanding of computer science.

Technology advances: the age of electronics

• Atanasoff-Berry device: not programmable, but fully electronic digital device capable of some forms of computation (not Turing-complete)

• Colossus: programmable (but by switches, not stored program) electronic computer

• John von Neumann, along with Alan Turing, came up with ideas that were realized as true stored program computers and now identified as von Neumann Architecture

The mathematical basis of computer science

• The fundamental notions are

• State (\$s\$)
• Sequence of state (\$s_t\$) created by the recursive application of a machine (\$m\$) to initial state (\$s_0\$)
• That is, computer science boils down to a single problem: that of working with recursive functions of the form \$s_{t+1} = m(s_t)\$

The mathematical basis of computer science, and trying to include the real world

Or if you are willing to concede that there is a real world with independent input state outside your machine and that also might affected by your machine's output, then \$(s_{t+1},o_{t+1}) = m(s_t,i_t)\$

The mathematical basis of computer science, and a hypothetical world function?

Since this is the real world, the relationship between \$i_{t+1}\$ and \$o_{t+1}\$ is not a given in the general case...

The mathematical basis of computer science, and a hypothetical world function?

Each world defines its own relationship between the two. So maybe we should create a \$w\$ function...?

The Curious Idea of Intellectual Property

• As we saw last lecture, some people challenge even the term "intellectual property", preferring formulations like "intellectual privilege".
• Good article on the philosophy of "intellectual property" here

• Some of the odder things that have been patented: Weird Patents

• The Selden patent

What reasons can be adduced for "Intellectual Property"?

• That it fosters creativity and development by giving creators and developers incentives to do so
• That society benefits from early disclosure of information and processes that otherwise would be of more benefit to the originator if those remained secret
• Obviously, these are consequentialist arguments... are there non-consequentialist arguments?

"Intellectual property" is a creation of governments

• While the idea of property as territory seems to be something even animals understand, the idea of intellectual property is a relatively new phenomenon.
• We can find examples of various royal grants going back to the Middle Ages that cover similar ground, such as the idea of governments sanctioning "guilds" that could (and did) control various endeavors.

"Intellectual property" is a creation of governments

• Around the 17th century, some European governments started to move toward more individualistic control of ideas.

"Intellectual property" is a creation of governments

• Notably, at the end of the 18th century, the new United States included language in its Constitution in Article 1, section 8:
``````To promote the Progress of Science and
useful Arts, by securing for limited
Times to Authors and Inventors the
exclusive Right to their respective
Writings and Discoveries;``````

Patents

• Acceptance of the idea of hardware patents is fairly common globally, though not universal

• The concept of a 'software patent' is not globally recognized.