The representational entity in physical computing

Susan Stepney, Viv Kendon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


We have developed abstraction/representation (AR) theory to answer the question "When does a physical system compute?" AR theory requires the existence of a representational entity (RE), but the vanilla theory does not explicitly include the RE in its definition of physical computing.Here we extend the theory by showing how the RE forms a linked complementary model to the physical computing model. We show that the RE does not need to be a human brain, by demonstrating its use in the case of intrinsic computing in a non-human RE: a bacterium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalNatural Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2021


  • unconventional computing
  • bacterial computing
  • representation


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