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Neural computation

Neural computation is the information processing performed by networks of neurons. Neural computation is affiliated with the philosophical tradition known as Computational theory of mind, also referred to as computationalism, which advances the thesis that neural computation explains cognition. The first persons to propose an account of neural activity as being computational was Warren McCullock and Walter Pitts in their seminal 1943 paper, A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity. There are three general branches of computationalism, including classicism, connectionism, and computational neuroscience. All three branches agree that cognition is computation, however they disagree on what sorts of computations constitute cognition. The classicism tradition believes that computation in the brain is digital, analogous with digital computing. Both connectionism and computational neuroscience do not require that the computations which realize cognition are necessarily digital computations. However, the two branches greatly disagree upon which sorts of experimental data should be used to construct explanatory models of cognitive phenomena. Connectionists rely upon behavioral evidence to construct models to explain cognitive phenomenon, whereas computational neuroscience leverages neuroanatomical and neurophysiological information to construct mathematical models which explain cognition.

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