Introduction to Neural Networks

What are neural networks?

Neural networks are computational models inspired by the massively parallel architecture of the brain.  They differ radically from traditional, von Neumann-style sequential algorithms.

Why is brain-style computation interesting?

Because the brain is an "existence proof" that AI is possible!

Brains are fantastically good at:

Despite our best efforts, computers are still moderately to abysmally bad at these tasks.  Why?

Brains have a number of other advantages as well:

Why pay attention to neurobiology? (or: "Is this a CS course, or what?!")

Because arguments from biology can provide important insights.  Simple example:

What can neural net models do?

Field is inherently interdisciplinary, with connections to:

Overview of the Brain



Large-Scale Organization of the Brain

Some major structures

Brain regions localized to some extent, but many intra- and inter-region connections

Major functional divisions