Newell and Simon Article “Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search.”
Question 1. According to Newell and Simon, sciences are built on what they call “laws of qualitative structure”. What are some examples of laws of qualitative structure in sciences other than Computer Science?
According to Newell and Simon, sciences are built on what they call “laws of qualitative structure”. One of the most prevailing examples of the law of qualitative structure in sciences is the cell doctrine in biology, which states that the cell is the basic building block of all living organisms. The plate tectonics theory in geology is another example of the law of qualitative structure, which states that the shapes and relative locations of oceans and continents are determined by the motions of tectonic plates that forms earth surface; these plates move into, against, and over each other into the center of the Earth and lose their identity. Similarly, the germ theory of disease and the doctrine of atomism are few more examples of the laws of qualitative structure.
Question 2. According to Newell and Simon, the PSSH is a law of qualitative structure for Artificial Intelligence.
A symbol is a physical pattern that composes the expression or symbol structure.
The physical symbol system may be defined as the collection of symbols or symbol structures and processes that work on expression on the course of developing new expressions. In simple way, a physical symbol system may be seen as a machine that obeys laws of a physics and generates an evolving set of symbol structures as time passes.
If a system can influence an object or respond in ways subject to the object then the central notation of the structure of expressions, symbols, and objects refers to the designation.
Whenever a system can carry out a process designated by an expression then the system can interpret the expression. The central notation of the structure of expression, symbols and objects refers to the designation.
Question 3. Their hypothesis is that “A physical symbol has the necessary and sufficient means for general intelligent action”. What do they mean by “necessary” and “sufficient”?
By “necessary,” they mean that any system that can exhibit necessary general intelligence can be proved to be a physical symbol system provided necessary analysis has been performed.
By “sufficient,” they mean that a physical symbol system of sufficient size always possesses certain features that can be organized to show general intelligence.
Question 4. How was the PSSH developed?
PSSH is a law of qualitative structure of Computer Science that specifies a general class of system to identify systems that have the ability to respond with general intelligent actions. The hypothesis is developed on the general foundation of physical determinism. The physical determinism theory is based on the concept that a universal machine can realize any computation as far as it is realizable and properly specified. A physical symbol system acts as the universal machine.
Question 5. What evidence do Newell and Simon cite for each of the two aspects of the PSSH?
First piece of evidence can be found in the attempt of a physical symbol system in generating sufficient intelligence in its attempt to build and test systems with similar ability. The second piece of evidence is instanced in the necessity of having the presence of a physical system wherever general intelligence is exhibited.
Question 6. Do you find their reasoning convincing?
I do find their reasoning convincing because it recognizes the system’s ability and persistence in building solution and testing systems that fall within the category as dictated by the aspects of necessary condition of physical symbol system.
Question 7. What does “The Heuristic Search Hypothesis” say?
Symbol structures are used to define solution to a problem. Search methodology is used by a physical symbol system to generate solution to a problem, in which it progressively generates and modifies symbol structure to reach a valid solution for a given problem.
Newell, Allen, and Herbert A. Simon. “Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search.” Communications of the ACM, vol. 19, no. 3, 1976, pp. 113-126.