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Physical ComputationA Mechanistic Account$
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Gualtiero Piccinini

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658855.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2021

Parallel Computers and Neural Networks

Parallel Computers and Neural Networks

(p.206) 13 Parallel Computers and Neural Networks
Physical Computation

Gualtiero Piccinini

Oxford University Press

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

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