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how many neurons?

Michael Hucka hucka at eecs.umich.edu
Fri Nov 28 20:00:49 EST 1997

>>>>> On 27 Nov 1997, Jiri Barton <jbar5010 at barbora.ms.mff.cuni.cz> wrote:

  jbar5010> I'm pretty new in this field. I know 300 neurons constituting an
  jbar5010> ANN means quite a big network so I wonder what a living beings
  jbar5010> can do with 300 neurons (although there's a big difference
  jbar5010> between an artificial and a natural neuron -- even bigger than
  jbar5010> I'd expected; after I read an article from Scientific American
  jbar5010> 2/97 about news in neuron field).

A side note about this.  It's worth remembering something about ANNs that is
often not mentioned: although they are usually described as "neurons", the
computational units in ANNs are often not intended to be single neurons.
Especially in PDP-style connectionism, the "units" may be neural circuits
themselves.  Calling them "neurons" is often intended as a shorthand.

With respect to your original question, you may also want to check into
Aplysia and Tritonia, both marine molluscs, as examples of simple organisms
with small nervous systems.  Aplysia in particular has been studied
extensively.  I can't remember off-hand how many neurons they have in their
central nervous systems -- more than C. elegans, I'm sure -- but the neural
circuits are thought to be relatively simple.

Mike Hucka -- hucka at umich.edu -- PhD student, UNIX admin & programmer, nice guy
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