[Comp-neuro] Re: Review announcement

Marcus Kaiser m.kaiser at newcastle.ac.uk
Tue Jul 22 16:33:41 CEST 2008


>Thus, noise from molecular sources can have an impact in the highly
>energy efficient and thus compact circuits
>of our brains, setting lower limits to how precise we can encode
>information. How to design (like an engineer) a brain's circuits is
>thus a multi-factor trade-off problem...and to me quite fascinating.

The role of noise, in the form of inaccurate processing results, was
(first?) discussed by John von Neumann (The Computer and the Brain, Yale
Univ Press, 1958). He was arguing that noise within a processing chain
could change the final result of the calculation through error
propagation (even more so for nonlinear systems). One way to reduce such
an effect of noise is reducing the number of processing steps. Indeed,
neural networks seem to be optimized for short processing paths
95 ). Changing the network structure (topology) to reduce the negative
effects of noise seems to be more energy-efficient than active
mechanisms (e.g. filtering or inhibition).



Marcus Kaiser, Ph.D.
School of Computing Science
Newcastle University
Claremont Tower
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, U.K.
Phone: +44 191 222 8161
Fax:   +44 191 222 8232

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