Jarkko KARI


Jonathan MILLS

James M. NYCE


Gabriela QUEIROZ


Philip WELCH

Experimental Computation

Abstract. Many ideas in computation, from 19th century analog computation to today's unconventional technologies, are based on experiments in the real world. Experimental computation involves representing data as physical quantities and performing experimental procedures with equipment and devices to process and calculate with the data. We have been developing a general methodology and mathematical theory for studying the computations by experiments, and, furthermore, combining experiments with algorithms and digital computers. This lecture with survey this programme. It will emphasize communication between physical experiments and digital machines, both where (i) the experiment is used to perform a computation, and (ii) the digital machine takes the role of directing the experiments. One useful way is to consider the experiment is as a oracle communicating with the digital machine. However these physical oracles are very different from the oracles in conventional complexity theory, and that difference can be summarised in a protocol for communication with the experiment. From different protocols we can derive different powers of computation, according to computability theory. Also studying physical examples suggests that some protocols are more realistic than others.