Talk Abstract
The Sound of One Hand Clapping
Nicholas J. Macias, Cell Matrix Corporation
seminar given at Villanova Department of Computing Sciences, Villanova, PA U.S.A. November 19, 2007
Strike your hand against a drum, a puddle of water, or against your other hand. In each case, a different sound is produced. One may thus wonder, "What is the 'true' sound of my hand?" Seeking to isolate the striking hand from the object being struck, one may then ask, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" This Zen koan helps us contemplate the inter-dependent roles of subject and object, and hints at how treating subject and object separately may lead to an incomplete understanding of the whole. In fact, seeing beyond such subject/object dualism lets us see things in a new light, and is key to many fundamental insights, including the stored-program methodology of the von Neumann architecture, as well as Rene Descartes' famous assertion: "I think, therefore I am." In this talk, the speaker will explore subject/object non-dualism, applying it to reconfigurable hardware, and will show how this extension to *self-configurable* hardware leads to a rich set of new behaviors, including self-replication, self-repair, and, perhaps, self-consciousness.