COSC 494/594
Unconventional Computation
Fall 2017
Instructor:
Bruce MacLennan [he/his/him]
Phone: 9740994
Office: Min Kao 550
Office Hours: WF 2:30–3:30, or make an
appointment
Email:
maclennan AT utk.edu
Classes: 3:35–4:25 MWF, MK 525
Directory of Handouts, Labs, etc.
This page: http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/Classes/494UC
or http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/Classes/594UC
Information
Description
Unconventional computation
(or nonstandard computation)
refers to the use of nontraditional technologies and computing
paradigms. As we approach the limits of Moore’s Law, progress in
computation will depend on going beyond binary electronics and on
exploring new paradigms and technologies for information
processing and control. This course surveys some potential
approaches to postMoore’s Law computing.
Potential topics include quantum computation and quantum
annealing; optical computing; analog computing; DNA, RNA, peptide,
and general molecular computation; chemical computing;
reactiondiffusion systems; liquidstate machines; amorphous
computing; membrane computing and P systems; single organic
molecule computing; computational mechanics; ballistic computing;
reversible computing; spatial computation; cellular automata;
cellular neural nets; neurocomputers; organic computation; natural
computation; physarum computers; emergent computation;
hypercomputation; nonTuring computation.
Prerequisites
I intend this course to be accessible to all upperdivision
undergraduate and graduate students in computer science, computer
engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, and
similar disciplines. To get the most out of the course,
undergraduate CS majors should have completed the 300level
required courses. Students will be expected to be familiar with linear algebra. If you have
any questions about whether you should take this course, please email me.
Students taking the course for graduate credit (COSC 594) will be
expected to do specified additional work, including an inclass
presentation.
Grading
There will be a mixture of homework, simulation experiments, and
a term paper. Graduate students will be expected to do an inclass
presentation. Occasional pop quizzes will count for 10% of your
grade.
Text
None.
Student Learning
Outcomes
Click
here for pdf.
Accommodations
 For Students with Disabilities
Students who have a disability that requires accommodation(s)
should make an appointment with the Office of Disability Services
(9746087) to discuss their specific needs as well as schedule an
appointment with me during my office hours.
 Name and Pronoun Accommodations
If you use a name and/or pronouns other than what is in the course
roll, please email me
with the name and/or pronouns that you would like me to use and I
will be glad to accommodate this request.
Tentative List of Topics
 Introduction [LNUC I (pdf); slides: pdf]
 PostMoore’s law computing
 Embodied computing
 SuperTuring vs. nonTuring computation
 Physical information
processing
 Energy dissipation [LNUC
II.A–B]
 Thermodynamics of computation
 Reversible computing [LNUC
II.C]
 Quantum computation
 Mathematical preliminaries [LNUC III.A] (see also
complex number review [FFCch4])
 Basic concepts from quantum theory [LNUC III.B.1–6]
 Introduction
 Postulates of QM
 Waveparticle duality (supplementary)
 Superposition
 Nocloning theorem
 Entanglement & EPR paradox
 Uncertainty principle (supplementary) [LNUC III.B.7]
 Quantum information
 Qubits & secure key distribution [LNUC III.C.1]
 Quantum gates
 Quantum circuits
 Quantum gate arrays
 Quantum parallelism
 Applications: Superdense coding and quantum
teleportation
 Universal quantum gates
 Quantum algorithms
 DeutschJozsa
 Simon
 Shor
 Grover & heuristic search
 Quantum error correction
 AbramsLloyd theorem
 Universal quantum computers
(supplementary)
 Feynman
 Benioff
 Deutsch
 Physical realizations
 Quantum probability in cognition
 Molecular computation
 Basic concepts
 DNA basics
 DNA manipulation
 Filtering models
 Adleman
 Lipton
 Test tube programming language
(supplementary)
 Parallel filtering model (supplementary)
 Formal models
 Sticker systems
 Splicing systems (supplementary)
 Enzymatic computation
 Analog computation (read
sections A–B)
 Computational power
 Computational complexity
 Analog solution of kSAT
 Spatial computation
 Cellular automata
 Cellular neural networks
 Computing with solitons etc.
 Reactiondiffusion computing
 Biocomputing
 Physarum machines
 Unstructured computation
 Liquidstate machines
 Reservoir computing
 Amorphous computing
 Blob computing
 Selfassembling systems
 Other potential topics
 Field computation
 Optical computing
 Carbon nanotubes
 Spintronics
 Relativistic computing
 Abstract geometrical computation
 Arithmetical hierarchy
 Algebraic TM computation
 Infinitetime computation
Assignments

Homework 1 due Sept. 15 (LNUC
II.D). Do II.1 and 4–9.
 Topics for term papers.
Simulations
Online Resources
 Unconventional and
Nonstandard Computing in general:
 Quantum Computing:
 Miscellaneous
Return to MacLennan’s
home page
Send
mail to Bruce MacLennan / MacLennan@utk.edu
This page is web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/Classes/494UC or
web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/Classes/594UC
Last updated: 20170920.