The October 6th issue of Science had a special section of articles on “Modeling the Mind”. This is something that I enjoyed reading, having concentrated on the computational side of these techniques in studying for my master’s degree. For some time during my Ph.D., I was developing background to explore modeling the mental processing of biosonar in dolphins. Although my dissertation topic changed to something more clearly within physiology and bioacoustics, the techniques and approaches still are of considerable interest to me.
The first article concerns research by Jeff Hawkins, the inventor of the PalmPilot PDA. Hawkins developed a theory of action for the cerebral cortex, positing that the single functional operation that cortical neurons perform, as explicated by Mountcastle in the 1970s, was prediction of events. And Hawkins aims to convert theoretical knowledge into practical applications, having founded a software company, Numenta, to develop applications based upon theories of neuroscience.
Maybe once I calm down from the recent theft of our stuff, I will take up commenting on some of the other articles. It really is good to see this topic getting some exposure.