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Cover Quote: May 1966

The operations of logic (syllogisms, conjunctions, disjunctions, negations, etc., that is, in the terminology that is customary for automata, various forms of gating, coincidence, anti-coincidence, blocking, etc., actions) will all have to be treated by procedures which allow exceptions (malfunctions) with low but non-zero probabilities. All of this will lead to theories which are much less rigidly of an all-or-none nature than past and present formal logic. They will be of a much less combinatorial, and much more analytical, character. All of this re-emphasizes the conclusion that a detailed, highly mathematical, and more specifically analytical, theory of automata and of information is needed. We possess only the first indications of such a theory at present. In assessing artificial automata, which are of only moderate size, it has been possible to get along in a rough empirical manner without such a theory. There is every reason to believe that this will not be possible with more elaborate automata.



- John von Neumann
The General and Logical Theory of Automata, 1951
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