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Cover Quote: April 1974

Programs of machines are of a linear character. That is, at any given moment impulses move sequentially from one element to the next and all other models from memory do not participate in the activity. In other words, in the machine, only one program is executed. It can be very long and complex in the sense of number of switchings, but all these operations are executed sequentially. Natural complex systems — living organisms function in a completely different way. In these systems a huge number, literally millions of programs, are realized simultaneously. At any given moment a significant portion of the structural elements participate in these programs. The information is immediately reprocessed along many parallel paths at different levels. Although the speed of information processing in the organism is very low in comparison with that of electronic computers, the volume of information simultaneously reprocessed in the organism exceeds by many times that of even the most complex and rapid electronic computer. In contemporary machines there are “narrow” places which lower the effectiveness of their operation. The most significant deficiency of machines, which again follows from the basic principle of their activity, is the extreme complexity of their hierarchical information processing. Obtaining models at higher levels demands so much calculation that the effectiveness of machines is depreciated. Simulation of complex programs in machines presents great difficulties to programmers because it requires the conversion of hierarchical (volume) models into linear ones. These deficiencies are very serious; however, they are completely surmountable. Achievements of the last few years demonstrate this. Methods are now being developed for parallel information processing according to several programs. Finally, new small elements, and schematics built of these, are being created which possess high reliability owing to the utilization of parallel and standby redundancy. Electronic and computer technology is developing rapidly. Without doubt, in the near future well-developed informational systems will be created, systems which will be capable of exceeding the limits of the human brain.

- N.M. Amdsov
Modeling of Thinking and the Mind, 1965
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