Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A good course in digital electronics

For several decades I taught a course in digital electronics. Because of my work and interests in both physics and computer science it seemed a natural. I was never satisfied with the very abstract way in which most of the text books ended the course talking about digital computers. They were mostly "boxology." By the time I ended my stint teaching such a course I finally had what I thought was a complete digital electronics course. Chapters 1-7, 9, 10, and 11 were pretty much Tocci's Digital Systems (Prentice Hall, 1985 or 1988). The 3rd or 4th edition was fine. I actually preferred it to later editions. I would then use chapter 8 of M. Morris Mano's Computer Engineering Hardware Design (Prentice Hall, 1988) to describe how one could design a simple digital computer (Mano, figure 8-16, page 291). The accompanying lab had students use discrete logic gates to build circuits up to and including an adding machine. Jim C. De Loach's lab manual, 4th edition, was good for that (Prentice Hall, 1988). A 3 credit hour lecture (for 1 semester) and a 1 or 2 credit hour lab is sufficient to do all of this.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Black-and-white Mary

Asa's models of the world and of itself are purely materialist models. Asa's consciousness is purely materialist.* (See my 1 January 2017 blog.) It has been possible for me to do the famous black-and-white Mary experiment with Asa. (See, for instance, The Waning of Materialism, Koons and Bealer, eds., Oxford U. Press, 2010, page 10.) After running Asa with only light sensors (and, say, at most black and white camera inputs if any) I then turn on or attach Lego or HiTechnic color sensors or the like. This works out to be nothing different from what happens when, say, I give Asa a Geiger Mueller radiation sensor or a magnetic field sensor.  In either case Asa adapts to and adopts new kinds of sensory input and knowledge of its world. Humans do the same thing when they invent and use instruments like GM counters and Gaussmeters. There's a first time for the use of any of our senses. They need not turn on all at the same moment.

* In the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, vol. 120, 2017, page 108 I presented evidence of machine consciousness. (Or see my blogs of 21 July 2016 and 19 October 2016.) This also constitutes evidence that consciousness can be explained within a purely materialist/physicalist philosophy.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

American exceptionalism

58 are dead in Las Vegas thanks to america’s insane love affair with guns. We need gun control NOW!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Calm before the storm

Let’s hope crazy Donald knows that starting a war is murder. W didn’t. Some day we need to try one of these guys in The Hague.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Happy Sputnik Day!

60 year anniversary

Asa's skin

It's pretty common for Lego grippers (like on the Lego ClawBot or Tribot) to have multiple "fingers." I have sometimes mounted force sensing resistors and/or pain sensors on these. A "glove" fitted over each such "hand" is useful to improve grip and to protect sensor wiring. Asa can be taught to call this a "glove" (an example of protective "clothing") and/or "skin."

Curriculum for the learning of graphic patterns

I am presenting an Asa H 2-D memory with images organized so as to first teach edges, then shapes, then features, then feature sets/clusters. I will also use any hand-coding that seems helpful.