Knowledge processing is an important feature of intelligence in general and artificial intelligence in particular. To develop computing systems working with knowledge, it is necessary to elaborate the means of working with knowledge representations (as opposed to data), because knowledge is an abstract structure. There are different forms of knowledge representations derived from data. One of the basic forms is called a schema, which can belong to one of three classes: operational, descriptive, and representation schemas. The goal of this paper is the development of theoretical and practical tools for processing operational schemas. To achieve this goal, we use schema representations elaborated in the mathematical theory of schemas and use structural machines as a powerful theoretical tool for modeling parallel and concurrent computational processes. We describe the schema of autopoietic machines as physical realizations of structural machines. An autopoietic machine is a technical system capable of regenerating, reproducing, and maintaining itself by production, transformation, and destruction of its components and the networks of processes downstream contained in them. We present the theory and practice of designing and implementing autopoietic machines as information processing structures integrating both symbolic computing and neural networks. Autopoietic machines use knowledge structures containing the behavioral evolution of the system and its interactions with the environment to maintain stability by counteracting fluctuations.
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