Pitts, W.


A logical calculus of the ideas immanent in nervous activity

Classics

Oliver Selfridge in The Gardens of Learning wrote: "I have watched AI since its beginnings... In 1943, I was an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and met a man whom I was soon to be a roommate with. He was but three years older than I, and he was writing what I deem to be the first directed and solid piece of work in AI (McCulloch and Pitts 1943) His name was Walter Pitts, and he had teamed up with a neurophysiologist named Warren McCulloch, who was busy finding out how neurons worked (McCulloch and Pitts 1943).... Figure 1 shows a couple of examples of neural nets from this paper---the first AI paper ever." From the introduction to the Warren S. McCulloch Papers, American Philosophical Society.http://www.amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead/Mss.B.M139-ead.xml;query=;brand=defaultAlthough an important figure in the early development of computing, McCulloch's goal in research was as much to lay bare the foundations for how we think as it was to develop practical applications - or in other words, to develop an "experimental epistemology" with which to relate mind and brain. Perhaps the most significant work to emerge from this period of McCulloch's career was his landmark paper with Walter Pitts, "A Logical Calculus Immanent in Nervous Activity" ( Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 5 (1943): 115-133). The "Logical calculus" was an attempt to develop just that: a rigorous description of neural activity independent of resort to theories of a soul or mind. Together with McCulloch and Pitts' follow-up work, "How we know universals: The perception of auditory and visual forms" ( Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 9 (1947) 127-147), the "Logical calculus" provided a compact mathematical model for understanding neural relationships laying the groundwork for neural network theory and automata theory, and forming the ur-foundation of modern computation (through John Von Neumannn) and cybernetics. (See Marvin Minsky, Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1967, for a very readable treatment of the computational aspects of McCulloch/Pitts neurons.")Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics, 5, 115–137


A logical calculus of the ideas immanent in nervous activity

Classics

Oliver Selfridge in The Gardens of Learning wrote: "I have watched AI since its beginnings... In 1943, I was an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and met a man whom I was soon to be a roommate with. He was but three years older than I, and he was writing what I deem to be the first directed and solid piece of work in AI (McCulloch and Pitts 1943) His name was Walter Pitts, and he had teamed up with a neurophysiologist named Warren McCulloch, who was busy finding out how neurons worked (McCulloch and Pitts 1943).... Figure 1 shows a couple of examples of neural nets from this paper---the first AI paper ever." From the introduction to the Warren S. McCulloch Papers, American Philosophical Society.http://www.amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead/Mss.B.M139-ead.xml;query=;brand=defaultAlthough an important figure in the early development of computing, McCulloch's goal in research was as much to lay bare the foundations for how we think as it was to develop practical applications - or in other words, to develop an "experimental epistemology" with which to relate mind and brain. Perhaps the most significant work to emerge from this period of McCulloch's career was his landmark paper with Walter Pitts, "A Logical Calculus Immanent in Nervous Activity" ( Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 5 (1943): 115-133). The "Logical calculus" was an attempt to develop just that: a rigorous description of neural activity independent of resort to theories of a soul or mind. Together with McCulloch and Pitts' follow-up work, "How we know universals: The perception of auditory and visual forms" ( Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 9 (1947) 127-147), the "Logical calculus" provided a compact mathematical model for understanding neural relationships laying the groundwork for neural network theory and automata theory, and forming the ur-foundation of modern computation (through John Von Neumannn) and cybernetics. (See Marvin Minsky, Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1967, for a very readable treatment of the computational aspects of McCulloch/Pitts neurons.")Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics, 5, 115–137