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An Explanation of Computation Theory for Lawyers

Nov 13, 2009, 21:04 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pamela Jones)

"Lawyers and judges know about modern electronics in general and computers in particular. They know about code and the compilation process that turns source code into binary executable code. Computation theory is something different. It is an area of mathematics that overlaps with philosophy. Computation theory provides the mathematical foundations that make it possible to build computers and write programs. Without this knowledge several of the fundamental principles of computer science are simply off the radar and never taken into consideration.

"The fundamentals of computation theory are not obvious. A group of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century needed decades to figure them out. If this information is not communicated to lawyers and judges they have no chance to understand what is going on and mistakes are sure to happen. All the errors I have found result from this omission. The purpose of this text is to help fill the gap. I try to explain all the key concepts in a language most everyone will understand. I will underline the key legal questions they raise or help answer as they are encountered. I will conclude the article with examples of common mistakes and how the knowledge of computation theory helps avoid them."

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