Von Neumann machine

From Academic Kids

A von Neumann machine is a model created by John von Neumann for a computing machine that uses a single storage structure to hold both the set of instructions on how to perform the computation and the data required or generated by the computation. Most modern computers use this von Neumann architecture. Computers using this architecture are said to be "von Neumann machines".

The term "von Neumann machine" has also been used informally to refer to the idea of a self-reproducing machine. Self-reproducing machines were first examined in a rigorous manner by John von Neumann, who called them instead "Universal Constructors" (see Clanking Replicator). The term "von Neumann machine" is less specific and, confusingly, also refers to a completely unrelated computer architecture proposed by von Neumann (see above), so the use of this misnomer should be discouraged whenever accuracy is important.

A specific theoretical application of a Von Neumann machine is a Von Neumann probe. Such a self-replicating probe could be used to efficiently explore and/or colonize the galaxy.

See also

zh:存储程序计算机

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