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Manifesto of the ccr design project

As communication joins computation as at least an equal partner in the design of systems, it is now blindingly obvious that the Von Neumann architecture, marginalizing communication as it does, cannot stand as an overall conceptual framework. The realization that software is already alive provides an entry point to a richer understanding.

The traditional emphasis in much of computer science on tool building, marginalizing systems as it does, will be contained, contextualized, and ultimately dominated by biological, immunological, and ecological principles. Similarly, the current emphasis in artificial life research on small closed-world simulations will yield to large-scale open-system models.

The living computation approach says that for long-term viability a system should have a sense of self in direct proportion to the value of the system, while at the same time, a system must be loyal to that upon which it depends for continued existence.

Previous attempts to construct highly abstract theories of systems (such as, for example, general systems theory), have foundered on the rocks of their own abstraction. In simple decomposable, linear systems, tremendous theoretical leverage is possible. In complex systems, it is only in context that any particular design decision can be evaluated.

The ccr design project is producing an ongoing series of research software prototypes to provide one completely concrete context for computation and communication reconsidered.