Sunday, July 25, 2010

You Can't Rely on Your Brain

A study has shown that small perturbations
in a single neuron can cascade everywhere.

"This rapid amplification of spikes means that the brain is extremely
'noisy' -- much, much noisier than computers. Nevertheless, the brain
can perform very complicated tasks with enormous speed and accuracy, far
faster and more accurately than the most powerful computer ever built
(and likely to be built in the foreseeable future). The UCL researchers
suggest that for the brain to perform so well in the face of high levels
of noise, it must be using a strategy called a rate code. In a rate
code, neurons consider the activity of an ensemble of many neurons, and
ignore the individual variability, or noise, produced by each of them."

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