

Welcome to the Computational Mechanics Archive at the
Complexity Sciences Center at UC Davis.
The central question driving the research described here is,
How does nature compute? 
Or, more precisely, How is information processing embedded in dynamical behavior? 
The label computational mechanics is simply
meant to indicate an extension of the approaches typically found in statistical
mechanics. That is, we are concerned with more detailed structural aspects of
behavior than those captured solely in terms of probability and degrees of
randomness. Beyond focusing on measures of disorder, such as temperature and
thermodynamic entropy, we ask the following... 
How can we detect and quantify structure in natural processes? 
The diverse model classes found in computation theory
are key tools in being explicit about how natural information processing
mechanisms can be represented and analyzed. However, one quickly comes to the
conclusion that contemporary notions of computation and of useful
information processing, colored as they are by the recent history of digital
computer technology, must be extended in order to be useful within empirical
science. Why? Because the processes studied by natural scientists involve
systems that are continuous, stochastic, spatially extended, or even some
combination of these and other characteristics fall strictly outside the
purview of discrete computation theory. 

