The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Neurocomputing

Neural networks belong to a more general class of processing systems, parallel distributed processors, and neurocomputing is a special case of Parallel Distributed Processing, or PDP, whereby processing is done in parallel by a number of independent processors and control is distributed over all processes. All the models for neural networks can be derived as special cases of PDP systems, from simple linear models to thermodynamic models.  The axiom of this framework is that all knowledge of the system is in the connections between the processors.  This approach is better suited than sequential, Von Neumann computing for pattern matching tasks such as visual recognition and language understanding

A concept is represented not by a symbol stored at some memory location, but by an equilibrium state defined over a dynamic network of locally interacting units.  Each unit encodes one of the many features relevant to recognizing the concept, and the connections between units are excitatory or inhibitory inasmuch as the corresponding features are mutually supportive or contradictory.  A given unit can contribute to the definition of many concepts.

 


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