The Power of Noise

The human brain is sloppy, error-prone, and unreliable. But that might be the perfect model for a radically more powerful kind of computer.

Kwabena Boahen's love affair with digital computers began and ended in 1981, when he was 16. Boahen lived outside the city of Accra in the West African nation of Ghana. His family’s sprawling block house stood in a quiet field of mango and banana trees. One afternoon Boahen’s father rolled down the driveway with a surprise in the trunk of his Peugeot: a RadioShack TRS-80—the family’s first computer— purchased in England. Young Boahen parked the machine at a desk ...

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