Numenta research meeting Apr 1 2019


The person on the right who made that comment whether oscilations are a cause or an effect has an interesting point (imho).

If I compare it to a wave in water, you might think that the water molecules are purposefully moving to cause a wave effect (maybe to communicate a force applied at one end of a basin towards the other end). But of coure this is not possible. The molecules just react to the neighboring molecules and because of the loose liquid bonds the time delays in reactions of the molecules cause the wave.

Just like water molecules, neurons react to spikes from neighboring neurons, through the dendrites, with a delay, which causes oscilations. That doesn’t mean the oscilations are intentional or even beneficial.

If in water the liquid reactions were not as slow, as for instance in ice, then a force applied to one side of the piece of ice would result in a much faster communication to the other end. If likewise neurons would spike much faster, it could be possible that synchronisation would be much faster too, and we might not detect oscillations, nor need them.

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That is @mrcslws, who we hired from the HTM community years ago. He created some amazing visualizations with @floybix at community hackathons. (the other person in the room is @maxwellp777)


The reason I think of this is because it is somewhat related to PLC programming. It’s a bit long to explain, but somehow a very similar problem.

In short, PLC’s are a simulation of paralel electrical wiring between electrical inputs (buttons, sensors, etc) and mechanical outputs (motors, valvas, etc). In a wiring cabinet the paralellism is quasi instantaneous, but a processor can only compute so many instruction per second. That’s why a cycle time was introduced, to create an artificial synchronisation.

To an electrical engineer who doesn’t understand programming, this is a fundamental different point of view than to a programmer who never built a wiring cabinet. Especially if the machine they are building works with some kind of sequence.

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