Talking Nets: An Oral History of Neural Networks

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James A. Anderson, Edward Rosenfeld
MIT Press, 2000 - Computers - 434 pages
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Since World War II, a group of scientists has been attempting to understand the human nervous system and to build computer systems that emulate the brain's abilities. Many of the early workers in this field of neural networks came from cybernetics; others came from neuroscience, physics, electrical engineering, mathematics, psychology, even economics. In this collection of interviews, those who helped to shape the field share their childhood memories, their influences, how they became interested in neural networks, and what they see as its future.

The subjects tell stories that have been told, referred to, whispered about, and imagined throughout the history of the field. Together, the interviews form a Rashomon-like web of reality. Some of the mythic people responsible for the foundations of modern brain theory and cybernetics, such as Norbert Wiener, Warren McCulloch, and Frank Rosenblatt, appear prominently in the recollections. The interviewees agree about some things and disagree about more. Together, they tell the story of how science is actually done, including the false starts, and the Darwinian struggle for jobs, resources, and reputation. Although some of the interviews contain technical material, there is no actual mathematics in the book.

ContributorsJames A. Anderson, Michael Arbib, Gail Carpenter, Leon Cooper, Jack Cowan, Walter Freeman, Stephen Grossberg, Robert Hecht-Neilsen, Geoffrey Hinton, Teuvo Kohonen, Bart Kosko, Jerome Lettvin, Carver Mead, David Rumelhart, Terry Sejnowski, Paul Werbos, Bernard Widrow


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Talking nets: an oral history of neural networks

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This work is not so much a collection of interviews seeking to enlighten some distinctive readership on the scientific workings of neural networks as it is a congeries of page after tedious page of ... Read full review

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User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Interviews with people who worked on the development of the neural-net approach to to cybernetics and artificial intelligence. Read full review


Jerome Y Lettvin
Walter J Freeman
Bernard Widrow
Leon N Cooper
Jack D Cowan
Carver Mead
Teuvo Kohonen
Stephen Grossberg
James A Anderson
David E Rumelhart
Robert HechtNielsen
Terrence J Sejnowski
Paul J Werbos
Geoffrey E Hinton
Bart Kosko

Gail Carpenter and Stephen Grossberg
Michael A Arbib

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About the author (2000)

James A. Anderson is Professor in the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown University.

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