June 19th, 2006

The Infinity Machine

Originally published at blog.scatmania.org. Please leave any comments there.

I read a great article this morning: The Infinity Machine, by Simon Tatham. It looks at the possibility of a hypothetical computer that is capable of processing at infinite speeds. However, unlike many other hypothetical infinity devices, it doesn’t look at the theoretical implications of the project, but the practical ones (if you had a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, what colour would the towels be?). For example, it looks at what instructions the instruction set would need to contain, and how language extensions to, for example, C, might be implemented to take advantage of the processor’s power. It examines the implications of such a system on cryptography, and proposes an alternative cryptographic system that this computer would be able to provide to make up for the fact that it’s existance will have broken all existing cryptographic systems except one-time pads.

It’s probably not interesting if you’re not some variety of geek, but I enjoyed it. The chap also wrote a great article on how be built a pair of dice that never roll a 7.