Turing’s standard model of computation, and its physical counterpart, has given rise to a powerful paradigm. There are assumptions underlying the paradigm which constrain our thinking about the realities of computing, not least when we doubt the paradigm’s adequacy.
There are assumptions concerning the logical structure of computation, and the character of its reliance on the data it feeds on. There is a corresponding complacency spanning theoretical – but not experimental – thinking about the complexity of information, and its mathematics. We point to ways in which classical computability can clarify the nature of apparently unconventional computation. At the same time, we seek to expose the devices used in both theory and practice to try and extend the scope of the standard model. This involves a drawing together of different approaches, in a way that validates the intuitions of those who question the standard model, while providing them with a unifying vision of diverse routes “beyond the Turing barrier”.