possible new way to model neural nets?

Kevin N Gurney hssrkng at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Mar 30 11:48:36 EST 1995


In article 3kmj at ns1.CC.Lehigh.EDU, x011 at Lehigh.EDU writes:
> Science 10 February 1995 page 868 had a very interesting article on
> Navigating Complex Labyrinths: Optimal Paths from Chemical Waves
> by Steinbock, Toth, and Showalter.
> ABSTRACT
> "Optimal pathways are experimentally determined by the collection
> of time-lapse position information on chemical waves propagating through
> mazes prepared with the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction. 
> .....
[deleted]
> This research may be useful to model neural communication and neural nets.
> What got my attention is the following quote: "Propagating waves in spatially
> distributed, excitable media arise from the coupling of a positive feedback
> process with some form of transport,..."  The rules of nature that apply
> to wave activity in chemical should be similar to the rules of neural
> wave transmission.   Ron Blue
> 

well spotted...!

It is known that there are similarities between certain chemical
'diffusion' equations and the formation of topographic maps in
self-organising nets. This was first spotted by Jack Cowan (I think) in
the early 70s (date?). Alan Turing (1950s) had played with the chemical
equations as a basis for morphogenesis in biological systems. People
like H. Haken are into this kind of thing (his so-called "synergetics") - see
for example Int. J. of Bifurcation and Chaos vol 4, 1069-1083 1994.
Apart from the maths, look at the front cover of this issue (chemical
'waves') and compare with occular-dominance maps in visual cortex.
Swindale (1982?) makes a similar appeal to the similarity between zebra
stripes and occular dominance columns.


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Kevin Gurney
Dept. Human Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middx., UK

Tel: 	0895 274000 X2770 (or 2742).        Fax: 0895  237573
email:	Kevin.Gurney at brunel.ac.uk
WWW home page:  http://www2.brunel.ac.uk:8080/~hssrkng/
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