[Comp-neuro] New brain theory story on PhysOrg.com

Asim Roy ASIM.ROY at asu.edu
Thu Nov 20 02:39:27 CET 2008

(My apologies if you get multiple copies of this.)

The new brain theory paper has been published in IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A, and PhysOrg.com, a science and technology news Web site, decided to do a story on it. The theory now has a name. They call it the "Controller Theory." There are comments in the story by two eminent scientists - Prof. Walter Freeman of Berkeley and Prof. James McClelland of Stanford.
Here are the links to the story. It was in the breaking news section. 

Here's the prior announcement:

The following paper has been accepted for publication in IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A. It essentially invalidates significant parts of connectionism. There were numerous public debates over the past decade on connectionism, some at international neural net conferences and some online through various mailing list. Some of the debate summaries are available at the CompNeuro archive site and listed below. 

TITLE: 		Connectionism, controllers and a brain theory
AUTHOR: 		Asim Roy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ  85287-4606, USA

This paper proposes a new theory for the internal mechanisms of the brain. It postulates that there are controllers in the brain and that there are parts of the brain that control other parts. Thus the theory refutes the connectionist theory that there are no separate controllers in the brain for higher-level functions and that all control is "local and distributed" at the level of the cells. Connectionist algorithms themselves are used to prove this theory. Plus there is evidence in the neuroscience literature to support this theory. Thus the paper proposes a control theoretic approach to understanding how the brain works and learns. That means that control theoretic principles should be applicable to developing systems similar to the brain.

For those interested, summaries of prior debates on the basic ideas of connectionism are available at the CompNeuro archive site. Here is a partial list of the debate summaries that are available

<http://www.neuroinf.org/lists/comp-neuro/Archive/1999/0079.html> - Some more questions in the search for sources of control in the brain
<http://www.neuroinf.org/lists/comp-neuro/Archive/1998/0084.html> - BRAINS INTERNAL MECHANISMS - THE NEED FOR A NEW PARADIGM
<http://www.neuroinf.org/lists/comp-neuro/Archive/1997/0069.html> - COULD THERE BE REAL-TIME, INSTANTANEOUS LEARNING IN THE BRAIN?
<http://www.neuroinf.org/lists/comp-neuro/Archive/1997/0057.html> - CONNECTIONIST LEARNING: IS IT TIME TO RECONSIDER THE FOUNDATIONS?
<http://www.neuroinf.org/lists/comp-neuro/Archive/1997/0012.html> - DOES PLASTICITY IMPLY LOCAL LEARNING? AND OTHER QUESTIONS
<http://www.neuroinf.org/lists/comp-neuro/Archive/1996/0047.html> - Connectionist Learning - Some New Ideas/Questions

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