Perspex machine X: software development
Noble, S., Thomas, B. A. and Anderson, J. A. D. W. (2007) Perspex machine X: software development. In: Vision Geometry XV, 01 Feb 2007, San Jose, CA,USA. (Proceedings of SPIE 6499, 64990K)
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1117/12.698166
The Perspex Machine arose from the unification of computation with geometry. We now report significant redevelopment of both a partial C compiler that generates perspex programs and of a Graphical User Interface (GUI). The compiler is constructed with standard compiler-generator tools and produces both an explicit parse tree for C and an Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) that is better suited to code generation. The GUI uses a hash table and a simpler software architecture to achieve an order of magnitude speed up in processing and, consequently, an order of magnitude increase in the number of perspexes that can be manipulated in real time (now 6,000). Two perspex-machine simulators are provided, one using trans-floating-point arithmetic and the other using transrational arithmetic. All of the software described here is available on the world wide web. The compiler generates code in the neural model of the perspex. At each branch point it uses a jumper to return control to the main fibre. This has the effect of pruning out an exponentially increasing number of branching fibres, thereby greatly increasing the efficiency of perspex programs as measured by the number of neurons required to implement an algorithm. The jumpers are placed at unit distance from the main fibre and form a geometrical structure analogous to a myelin sheath in a biological neuron. Both the perspex jumper-sheath and the biological myelin-sheath share the computational function of preventing cross-over of signals to neurons that lie close to an axon. This is an example of convergence driven by similar geometrical and computational constraints in perspex and biological neurons.
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