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Summary form only given, as follows. At a very fundamental level, VLSI chips and animal nervous systems are closely related. They both process information via a large and complex network of relatively simple components. We understand exactly how chips work, and how they are built, because we design them ourselves. Nervous systems, on the other hand, are poorly understood, both in overall design and details of implementation. Biological technology has now advanced to the point where we can begin to investigate these issues, using methods conceptually similar to those used to analyze and reverse engineer chips. This talk will introduce discuss the methods that are now being used and prospects for f urther understanding. The current state of the art in this endeavor might be compared to that of VLSI design at the time when only individual circuits could be implemented. As with VLSI, a similar long and intensive effort lies ahead until the full potential of this technology is known. The fruit of this understanding will be huge, however - the talk will close with a some potential benefits, both intellectual and commercial, that such an understanding will provide.