Trevor Housten and Romann weber, RPI Graduate Students


Trevor Housten and Romann weber, RPI Graduate Students

Sage 4101

March 24, 2010 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Romann Weber:


A central tenet of the modern version of the neuron doctrine is that the nerve cell is the basic unit of computation within the nervous system.

Folded into this doctrine, however, is a "spike-centered" dogma, which holds that the ultimate computational output of the neuron is to be found in its pattern of firing action potentials.  In the majority of the cognitive science and theoretical neuroscience literature, one finds the chemicals used in neural signaling---if they are discussed at all---relegated to a subsidiary role, serving primarily to influence the firing patterns of other cells.  However, research in recent years has shown that the chemical profile of neurons is far more complex than was originally thought and that most neurons manufacture and release multiple chemical transmitters, often in highly specific patterns.

I will discuss an alternative interpretation of neural information processing that seeks to account for this complex chemical behavior.  In this paradigm, intraneural computation can be modeled as a network of interactions between incoming neurochemicals and the neural genome, leading to a specific neurotransmitter phenotype and release profile. I will also discuss how the computational capabilities and specialties of individual neurons can change over time within this framework.

Trevor Housten:


This talk will focus on the current state of the field of Paraconsistent Logic and its need as technology moves forward towards higher level reasoning. In order for machines to be able to reason in the presence of contradictions, whether real or artificial, these contradictions must be able to be reasoned about without exploding to trivialism. After analyzing the current approaches, several realistic options will be discussed to be able to put the theories into practice.

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