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artificial networks

Tom Holroyd tomh at BAMBI.CCS.FAU.EDU
Thu Jan 7 19:34:53 EST 1993

andrick at rhrk.uni-kl.de (Ulf Andrick [Biologie]) writes:

>There seems to be enough work to be done to simulate `static' Neural
>Networks in simple organisms. An interesting question is, e. g.,
>what role the complex electrophysiological properties of the single
>neuron play for the behaviour of the whole network? What are
>the effects of neuromodulators? And these questions may
>also be of relevance in neural development.

Just a quick note, but to understand the functioning of a network
of neurons, you must sometimes study the whole network and not
the properties of single neurons.  Many of the complex electrophysiological
properties of the single neuron may be irrelevant at the network level,
since some functions may be emergent properties not present at the
single unit level.

This is also true for networks of interacting genes.  Studying how a
single gene codes for an enzyme may not help you understand how the
complex regulatory network functions, since some of the processes
are almost surely emergent, like a collective effect on a regulatory

Growing simple network models won't tell you anything about individual
cells, but it will help you understand the types of interactions that
are possible, and you may find that the interactions produce forces that
outweigh any cellular level process.  There's a paper by Kauffman on
properties of genetic regulatory networks that is illustrative.  [ I don't
have it handy though; sorry. :-( ]

Tom Holroyd
Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431 USA
tomh at bambi.ccs.fau.edu

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