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About this book

In this fundamental book the authors devise a framework that describes the working of the brain as a whole. It presents a comprehensive introduction to the principles of Neural Information Processing as well as recent and authoritative research. The books´ guiding principles are the main purpose of neural activity, namely, to organize behavior to ensure survival, as well as the understanding of the evolutionary genesis of the brain. Among the developed principles and strategies belong self-organization of neural systems, flexibility, the active interpretation of the world by means of construction and prediction as well as their embedding into the world, all of which form the framework of the presented description. Since, in brains, their partial self-organization, the lifelong adaptation and their use of various methods of processing incoming information are all interconnected, the authors have chosen not only neurobiology and evolution theory as a basis for the elaboration of such a framework but also systems and signal theory.

The most important message of the book and authors is: brains are evolved as a whole and a description of parts although necessary lets one miss the wood for the trees.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Principles of Neural Information Processing

To analyse the working of the brain it is our intention here to develop a framework that encompasses its most important aspects in functional terms. This intention seems solvable only if one chooses a task that makes use of all parts of the brain, and keeps the level of the description and dimensionality of this task manageable. As a result, although the description should include the numerous details that we know, not every single one needs quantifying. Our view is that the organization of behavior is the task per se that has to be solved by brains. We have therefore chosen this task as the framework for explaining how the brain works, knowing that it has gaps which—so we hope—may be filled by realistic hypotheses. Our emphasis is on the development of principles and strategies. Since, in brains, their partial self-organization, the lifelong adaptation and their use of various methods of processing incoming information are all interconnected, we have chosen not only neurobiology and evolution theory as a basis for the elaboration of such a framework, but also systems and signal theory. The latter provides a well-tested system of concepts, and opens the way to physical laws and limits.
Werner v. Seelen, Konstantin Behrend
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