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Hans Lemurson
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PostSubject: Minecraft Computer   Tue May 10, 2011 5:41 am

For the past week or so, I've been deeply engaged in trying to understand the elements of computing. It all started when I had the amazing idea to create a high-density memory system for use in some hypothetical machine. However, as I figured out how to build the different components for it, I realized that once I had a working system that could read and write data to multiple slots and then retrieve exactly what I was looking for, once I could do that I was already half-way there to a CPU!

Also, when I was trying to figure out how to check if two bit-strings were the same (so that I could read the data in segment 1101), I ended up inventing a brand new design of compact XOR gate. Once I had that built, I realized "Heck! I could probably use this to make a compact Adder", since XORs are the bulkiest component in a binary Adder. Then once I had a prototype of a compact adder made, I thought "I wonder how you make a subtractor?", and went to the wikipedia and found that you can actually do subtraction on an Adder...so long as you used negative numbers. So then I had this idea for making a combined adder-subtrator system, and sketched that out. Once I figured out all the functions I would need to make to have that work, I realized that I was most of the way to designing an ALU or "Arithmetic logic unit" which is the part of a CPU that actually does the calculations. The rest of a CPU is just there to tell the ALU what it should be doing at any given time...which is more complicated than it sounds.

So long story short, I started off with an idea to make one part of a computer more efficient and now I'm going to end up actually making an entire computer.
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UberaDpmn
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Tue May 10, 2011 12:44 pm

If you wanted to learn something about computer science, wouldn't it be better to get some circuit board and a soldering iron? Or maybe a program that can simulate that?

There is bound to be loads of discrepancies between Minecraft and RL circuits. So anything you glean in Minecraft is going to weird and flawed.
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Valerius Maximus
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Tue May 10, 2011 12:50 pm

It feels like you're going through the same thing I did a while back, except on a much larger scale!

Way back, before I understood any redstone at all... I set out to perform a single function... turn a button into a lever. I know, it sounds fruitless, but I really wanted a button that would toggle between two states. Little did I know that what I was looking for was called a "T Flip Flop". After learning what a T Flip Flop was... so many things suddenly became clear about redstone, and on the same day I built a 4 bit binary counter, a binary to decimal converter, and a 7 segment display, and set it up so that the display would change from 0 to 9 in a cycle ad infinitum.

And all of that stemmed from wanting to turn a button into a lever...

Now, since you're probably more intelligent than me, or at least more knowledgeable... you're going through this huge scale grand revalation that I'm quite jealous of...

I've always wanted to learn how people even go about making a CPU in Minecraft...

Well, good luck! I'm interested if you're going to keep us posted.

- Posted from class XD

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nomadluap
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Tue May 10, 2011 6:46 pm

Can we see your XOR gate design?
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Hans Lemurson
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Tue May 10, 2011 7:56 pm

UberaDpmn wrote:
If you wanted to learn something about computer science, wouldn't it be better to get some circuit board and a soldering iron? Or maybe a program that can simulate that?

There is bound to be loads of discrepancies between Minecraft and RL circuits. So anything you glean in Minecraft is going to weird and flawed.
Not true. It is a common mistake to assume that a "Computer" means "Electronics". Computation is something which transcends the materials that the machine is made out of. Whether something is made from Redstone Torches, Transistors, or even Gears and Levers, doesn't matter so long as they have the same logical behavior. Redstone is a perfectly fine medium for studying Computer Science. For example, a "Clicky-Pen" is in fact a Toggle Flip-Flop.

You are right though that Redstone worthless as an electronics simulator.

Valerius Maximus wrote:
It feels like you're going through the same thing I did a while back, except on a much larger scale!

Way back, before I understood any redstone at all... I set out to perform a single function... turn a button into a lever. I know, it sounds fruitless, but I really wanted a button that would toggle between two states. Little did I know that what I was looking for was called a "T Flip Flop". After learning what a T Flip Flop was... so many things suddenly became clear about redstone, and on the same day I built a 4 bit binary counter, a binary to decimal converter, and a 7 segment display, and set it up so that the display would change from 0 to 9 in a cycle ad infinitum.

And all of that stemmed from wanting to turn a button into a lever...

Now, since you're probably more intelligent than me, or at least more knowledgeable... you're going through this huge scale grand revalation that I'm quite jealous of...

I've always wanted to learn how people even go about making a CPU in Minecraft...

Well, good luck! I'm interested if you're going to keep us posted.

- Posted from class XD
Heh, my first major Redstone project was in fact a T Flip-Flop. I haven't done and binary-decimal conversion though, and only built half of a prototype 7-segment display. This is my first "real" redstone project.

nomadluap wrote:
Can we see your XOR gate design?
Sure thing! It is made from two smaller elements stack on top of each other. In Green on the Left is a half-unit (which is a 1-bit decoder), and in Blue and Pink on the Right is two of them stacked to form an XOR gate.


Here is a side-view of a bank of 4 of them that have their outputs wired together to say whether the upper and lower sets of inputs are the same or not.


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General_kozi
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 4:43 am

When you finish this I'd be interested in looking at your CPU and trying to figure out how it works; as i've been wondering about this for a while.
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UberaDpmn
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 6:15 am

Hans Lemurson wrote:

Not true. It is a common mistake to assume that a "Computer" means "Electronics". Computation is something which transcends the materials that the machine is made out of. Whether something is made from Redstone Torches, Transistors, or even Gears and Levers, doesn't matter so long as they have the same logical behavior. Redstone is a perfectly fine medium for studying Computer Science. For example, a "Clicky-Pen" is in fact a Toggle Flip-Flop.

Are you trying to tell me that Minecraft redstone is a flawless representation of modern computer science, and that any information learned (Like the placement of redstone torches for example) would be 100% relevant if, right now, you started designing a modern RL processor?

Because I find that a little hard to believe.
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Hans Lemurson
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 7:31 am

UberaDpmn wrote:
Hans Lemurson wrote:

Not true. It is a common mistake to assume that a "Computer" means "Electronics". Computation is something which transcends the materials that the machine is made out of. Whether something is made from Redstone Torches, Transistors, or even Gears and Levers, doesn't matter so long as they have the same logical behavior. Redstone is a perfectly fine medium for studying Computer Science. For example, a "Clicky-Pen" is in fact a Toggle Flip-Flop.

Are you trying to tell me that Minecraft redstone is a flawless representation of modern computer science, and that any information learned (Like the placement of redstone torches for example) would be 100% relevant if, right now, you started designing a modern RL processor?

Because I find that a little hard to believe.
I am puzzled why you are so antagonistic about me saying that Redstone is a perfectly fine medium for learning the fundamentals of Computation.

I know that Redstone Torches bear no relation to any physical device, and is not a and I never said that they did. Don't put your own words in my mouth and then accuse me of idiocy. What baffles me is that you cut-off the part of my response to you where I said
Hans Lemurson wrote:
You are right though that Redstone worthless as an electronics simulator.
because that was the part where I conceded that your criticism did have some validity.

Allow me to reiterate: Computer Science and Electronics are DIFFERENT THINGS. The only reason that they overlap is that for the past 70 years, all of our computers have been Electronic computers.
However, I am not making an Electronic computer. I am making a Redstone computer.
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UberaDpmn
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 8:11 am

Hans Lemurson wrote:
UberaDpmn wrote:
Hans Lemurson wrote:

Not true. It is a common mistake to assume that a "Computer" means "Electronics". Computation is something which transcends the materials that the machine is made out of. Whether something is made from Redstone Torches, Transistors, or even Gears and Levers, doesn't matter so long as they have the same logical behavior. Redstone is a perfectly fine medium for studying Computer Science. For example, a "Clicky-Pen" is in fact a Toggle Flip-Flop.

Are you trying to tell me that Minecraft redstone is a flawless representation of modern computer science, and that any information learned (Like the placement of redstone torches for example) would be 100% relevant if, right now, you started designing a modern RL processor?

Because I find that a little hard to believe.
I am puzzled why you are so antagonistic about me saying that Redstone is a perfectly fine medium for learning the fundamentals of Computation.

I know that Redstone Torches bear no relation to any physical device, and is not a and I never said that they did. Don't put your own words in my mouth and then accuse me of idiocy. What baffles me is that you cut-off the part of my response to you where I said
Hans Lemurson wrote:
You are right though that Redstone worthless as an electronics simulator.
because that was the part where I conceded that your criticism did have some validity.

Allow me to reiterate: Computer Science and Electronics are DIFFERENT THINGS. The only reason that they overlap is that for the past 70 years, all of our computers have been Electronic computers.
However, I am not making an Electronic computer. I am making a Redstone computer.

And I'm trying to say that a redstone computer is not the same as a real computer, and that if you really wanted wanted to learn computer science, Minecraft would probably be pretty low on the scale of 'good education materials'.

And just for reference, I never said that redstone torches had any real life counterpart, I pointed them out because of that fact to show that you would essentially be learning from greatly flawed material. I didn't put words in your mouth.

Putting words in your mouth would look like this:

Hans Lemurson wrote:
I'm Hans HerpDerp I'm a massive gay that stamps on kittens for giggles.

...You monster >:O
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nomadluap
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 8:36 am

UberaDpmn wrote:
Hans Lemurson wrote:
UberaDpmn wrote:


Are you trying to tell me that Minecraft redstone is a flawless representation of modern computer science, and that any information learned (Like the placement of redstone torches for example) would be 100% relevant if, right now, you started designing a modern RL processor?

Because I find that a little hard to believe.
I am puzzled why you are so antagonistic about me saying that Redstone is a perfectly fine medium for learning the fundamentals of Computation.

I know that Redstone Torches bear no relation to any physical device, and is not a and I never said that they did. Don't put your own words in my mouth and then accuse me of idiocy. What baffles me is that you cut-off the part of my response to you where I said
Hans Lemurson wrote:
You are right though that Redstone worthless as an electronics simulator.
because that was the part where I conceded that your criticism did have some validity.

Allow me to reiterate: Computer Science and Electronics are DIFFERENT THINGS. The only reason that they overlap is that for the past 70 years, all of our computers have been Electronic computers.
However, I am not making an Electronic computer. I am making a Redstone computer.

And I'm trying to say that a redstone computer is not the same as a real computer, and that if you really wanted wanted to learn computer science, Minecraft would probably be pretty low on the scale of 'good education materials'.

And just for reference, I never said that redstone torches had any real life counterpart, I pointed them out because of that fact to show that you would essentially be learning from greatly flawed material. I didn't put words in your mouth.

Putting words in your mouth would look like this:

Hans Lemurson wrote:
I'm Hans HerpDerp I'm a massive gay that stamps on kittens for giggles.

...You monster >:O

But he's not. He's taking a bunch of boolean logic gates and connecting them together in such a way that can compute values. It could be done with transistors, relays, or even gears if he felt like it. Regardless of the medium, the fundamental lessons and processes remain the same.
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UberaDpmn
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 8:38 am

nomadluap wrote:
But he's not. He's taking a bunch of boolean logic gates and connecting them together in such a way that can compute values. It could be done with transistors, relays, or even gears if he felt like it. Regardless of the medium, the fundamental lessons and processes remain the same.

Lies! >:I
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Hans Lemurson
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 5:16 pm

I apologize for the whole "putting words in your mouth" line of argument. It distracted from the real issue that you're not actually listening to anything I say.
Had you actually read what I've written, you never would have made this statement:
UberaDpmn wrote:
And I'm trying to say that a redstone computer is not the same as a real computer
So long as the machinery performs logical functions, it doesn't matter what the machinery is. Computer architecture isn't about the construction of the small-scale devices (like placing a torch or soldering in a logic gate), it's about how they all relate to each other in order to produce a coherent whole: a device which can take in a set of instructions and use them to do calculations, and then return the result.

I'm glad the words of nomalduap seem to have reached you. I guess you needed it to be said by somebody who you didn't automaticly assume to be wrong. Or who wasn't openly antagonistic against you.

Implying that you were an idiot didn't help to convince you, and I apologize for doing that and prolonging the fight.
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 6:54 pm

Alright, ubera, there's this condition of being Turing complete, and how redstone is that, because it has all the required logic gates. It is perfectly possible to make a redstone computer, but the display will be... lacking. The main reason for this is the lack of possible outputs. You can look at redstone as a programming language, actually. Each thing that produces power is an input for all the logic gates (i.e. Someone stepping on your press plate). Each thing that reacts to redstone can be seen as a function (i.e. Opening a door that releases the creeper). In fact, on the "Science" forum, I think I shall make a clan list of what redstone can receive input from, and what it will output from.
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Hans Lemurson
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 9:06 pm

Redstone Torches are NOR gates, which are "Universal Gates" and so can be used to simulate any function.

However, unless I actually make a 7-segment display, the only readable output from the computer is going to be a line of torches, either ON or OFF. Binary FTW!

To shrink redstone components, you have to have very intimate knowledge of what configurations actually transfer power from one torch to another, and which ones don't. Some of it is fairly non-intuitive, but at least its consistent (more or less). I'd be willing to help you CrazyLemon with a thread about the peculiar functions of redstone in small-scale interactions.
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 9:21 pm

Hans Lemurson wrote:
To shrink redstone components, you have to have very intimate knowledge of what configurations actually transfer power from one torch to another, and which ones don't. Some of it is fairly non-intuitive, but at least its consistent (more or less). I'd be willing to help you CrazyLemon with a thread about the peculiar functions of redstone in small-scale interactions.

Got a thread up. Feel free to contribute!
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Wed May 11, 2011 10:18 pm

I lol'd at the fact that you pioneered a new level of redstone circuitry and computational science, and then you derped on subtraction.

XD
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ThePixie35
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Sun May 22, 2011 9:09 am

Hans, have you taken into account the unloaded chunks? No redstone works in them so unless your extremely compact (Which I would love to see!!)
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Sun May 22, 2011 1:38 pm

ThePixie35 wrote:
Hans, have you taken into account the unloaded chunks? No redstone works in them so unless your extremely compact (Which I would love to see!!)

If you use SMP, you can force the entire thing to be loaded on the server by spacing out players.
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ThePixie35
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Mon May 23, 2011 6:14 am

Which shows exactly how lonely I am playing on my single player worlds...
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Hans Lemurson
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Mon May 23, 2011 6:54 am

I've done a lot of research into circuit miniaturization, and so I think I should be able to get a working device that will fit inside the confines of the "Loaded Chunk" limit. I can also build it on multiple vertical layers if I need to.
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Mon May 23, 2011 8:10 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the redstone changing near the chunk border cause the chunk to load? I'm pretty sure that's why notch limited RS to 15 blocks, so that the game wouldn't have to keep everything loaded.
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Hans Lemurson
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PostSubject: Re: Minecraft Computer   Mon May 23, 2011 8:15 pm

It probably would, come to think of it. However, it would be hard to check for sure. Maybe make a really long signal-line that goes out 400 blocks and then comes back, and see if pulses return down it. Exit the world and then re-load it again just to be sure.
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