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Journal Articles Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences Year : 2012

From Turing machines to computer viruses

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Abstract

Self-replication is one of the fundamental aspects of computing where a program or a system may duplicate, evolve and mutate. Our point of view is that Kleene's (second) recursion theorem is essential to understand self-replication mechanisms. An interesting example of self-replication codes is given by computer viruses. This was initially explained in the seminal works of Cohen and of Adleman in the 1980s. In fact, the different variants of recursion theorems provide and explain constructions of self-replicating codes and, as a result, of various classes of malware. None of the results are new from the point of view of computability theory. We now propose a self-modifying register machine as a model of computation in which we can effectively deal with the self-reproduction and in which new offsprings can be activated as independent organisms.

Dates and versions

hal-00762923 , version 1 (09-12-2012)

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Jean-Yves Marion. From Turing machines to computer viruses. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2012, 370 (1971), pp.3319-3339. ⟨10.1098/rsta.2011.0332⟩. ⟨hal-00762923⟩
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