[Comp-neuro] Hilbert's questions

rinkus at comcast.net rinkus at comcast.net
Tue Aug 12 17:24:22 CEST 2008


As a starting point for the top 10 questions, I suggest a look at the final report of the 2007 NSF workshop, "Future Challenges for the Science and Engineering of Learning", that Dr. Sejnowski posted on 'connectionists' yesterday.

http://www.cnl.salk.edu/Media/NSFWorkshopReport.v4.pdf


-Rod Rinkus

 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: james bower <bower at uthscsa.edu>
> Ego, me -- HA!!!
> 
> lol
> 
> Anyway - I don't believe, as I indicated in the book review, that we  
> are anywhere near being able to come up with the kind of formal  
> identification of problems that Hilbert's 23 problems identified in  
> mathematics in 1900.  We have a deep infrastructure problem, in my  
> opinion.   I am not even convinced that biological systems are  
> particularly amenable to anything comparable to an axiomatic approach  
> to  understanding the relationships between things.  With respect to  
> Hilbert, however, it is perhaps interesting that one of his beefs with  
> Euclid was with the assignment of meaning to mathematical objects  
> which he felt should be considered meaningless -- thus, perhaps, he  
> was also concerned about the tyranny of ideas - and in particular, was  
> trying to reduce reliance on human intuition, replacing it with a more  
> formal system of description and discovery.  In this sense, perhaps,  
> Hilbert was the equivalent of a "realistic modeler" within mathematics.
> 
> As far as the grande (sic) questions in neuroscience go, at the  
> grandest level it seems to me there is only one question:  "What is  
> each neuron communicating, and how is the message encoded."
> 
> Once we know that, the rest is clean up.
> 
> That said, it could be an interesting exercise to come up with a list  
> of the current Top Ten Topics attracting the attention of  
> computational neurobiologists. Anyone want to give it a try?
> 
> 
> 
> Jim
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Aug 12, 2008, at 8:51 AM, Bill Lytton wrote:
> 
> >
> > Jim:
> >
> > I've been following with interest and have found myself in agreement  
> > with most of your points --
> > not surprising perhaps since I'm also from the bio rather than the  
> > physics side of the great
> > divide.
> >
> > The problem with the Hilbert knockoff that you reviewed was of  
> > course that it was n guys rather
> > than 1 guy.
> >
> > So we need the guy -- needs to be someone with a reasonably large  
> > view of the field and a
> > reasonably large ego :) -- how about you Jim? -- or Christof or  
> > Terry or Bard? (apologies
> > to the many others who should also be named)
> >
> > perhaps Bard and Jim need to work together on this since 2 heads are  
> > better than 23 if not as
> > good as 1, though perhaps better if coming from 2 different cultures
> >
> > this kind of thing may be better done in a listserv rather than a  
> > meeting anyway
> >
> > Bill
> >
> > PS was also enviously following the locales and beverages -- I'm  
> > stuck with diet pepsi
> > in flatbush
> >
> > -- 
> > William W. Lytton, MD
> > Professor of Physiology, Pharmacology, Biomedical Engineering,  
> > Neurology
> > State University of NY, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
> > billl at neurosim.downstate.edu http://it.neurosim.downstate.edu/~billl
> > ________________________________________________________________
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ==================================
> 
> Dr. James M. Bower Ph.D.
> 
> Professor of Computational Neuroscience
> 
> Research Imaging Center
> University of Texas Health Science Center -
> -  San Antonio
> 8403 Floyd Curl Drive
> San Antonio Texas  78284-6240
> 
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