A NAND gate can be implemented by a child with a table tennis bat with the two colors black and white.
It shows the black or the white side of the bat depending on the colors of the bats of two other children which it is instructed to watch. The child performs the NAND operation and on the " beat" sticks up the right color of the bat.
That way all other chips can be realized with interacting and NAND-ing children.
I'm looking for a design of a Hack-ish computer chip that could be realized in say a couple of 1000 children.
After proper instruction the children will do real computing , say something like "34 + 45" or "56 * (12 + 5)" or drawing something on a screen.
I think it will be a great experience for a child to act in the very restricted NAND mode and see that their concerted action leads to the right result, or wrecking it by making a mistake.
If the children are placed, let's say in a 2 dimensional array, an audience will see at every beat a pattern of white and black bats in the air and after a while see the correct answer. I think it is a great experience for them to see that computing is a sequence of patterns crawling to a pattern that happens to be the right result.
The computation is carried out in flesh and not in silicon so they can infer that the material substrate is only accidental to computation.
There can be computing competitions between different groups of children , who is fastest , who can do most varied instruction set , smallest size etc.. Grown ups could do better then just NANDing, they could do Mux-ing or Adding.
I think it is possible to realize a suitable downsized Hack computer in children, or more general in people , or for that matter picking chickens in a chicken farm.
The small NAND Alu of cadet1620 gave me the last push to write up these ideas that I carry with me already for a long time. I conclude from from that It does not take millions of children but only a couple of 1000.
It's a fantasy that i am writing up now in a hurry before i change my mind.
Cool idea! I can see this being an interactive experience for people of all ages! Most people do not know how a computer works at the lowest level, and seeing a low level computation as you describe produce a meaningful result would be a real eye opening experience.
On day 1 they build a 3 bit adder that operates correctly. On day 2 they build a 4 bit adder in the same space that forces closer tolerances. The 2nd adder fails on two of the bits.
The failure analysis at the end is enlightening. On one bad bit there is a signal crosstalk error and on the other bad bit there is a signal timing error. Both of these are real life electronic design issues.