Chapter

Parallel Computers and Neural Networks

Gualtiero Piccinini

in Physical Computation

Published in print June 2015 | ISBN: 9780199658855
Published online August 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191748158 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658855.003.0014
Parallel Computers and Neural Networks

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This chapter addresses whether neural networks perform computations and what kind of computation they perform. It distinguishes several notions of parallel computing, introduces neural networks, identifies the sense in which neural networks are parallel computing systems, and distinguishes several classes of neural networks based on the kind of computation they perform. It explicates and defends the following theses: (1) Many neural networks compute—they perform computations. (2) Some neural networks compute in a classical way. Ordinary digital computers, which are very large networks of logic gates, belong in this class of neural networks. (3) Other neural networks perform digital computations in a non-classical way. (4) Yet other neural networks perform non-digital computations. Brains may well fall into this last class.

Keywords: neural network; parallel computer; classical computation; non-classical computation; non-digital computation; brain

Chapter.  8630 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind

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