Computational modeling plays a central role in cognitive science. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to computational models of human cognition. It covers major approaches and architectures, both neural network and symbolic; major theoretical issues; and specific computational models of a variety of cognitive processes, ranging from low-level (e.g., attention and memory) to higher-level (e.g., language and reasoning). The articles included in the book provide original descriptions of developments in the field.
Einstein said that "the whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." David Klahr suggests that we now know enough about cognition—and hence about everyday thinking—to advance our understanding of scientific thinking. In this book he sets out to describe the cognitive and developmental processes that have enabled scientists to make the discoveries that comprise the body of information we call "scientific knowledge."
In Mind and Mechanism, Drew McDermott takes a computational approach to the mind-body problem (how it is that a purely physical entity, the brain, can have experiences). He begins by demonstrating the falseness of dualist approaches, which separate the physical and mental realms. He then surveys what has been accomplished in artificial intelligence, clearly differentiating what we know how to build from what we can imagine building.
Since the 1970s the cognitive sciences have offered multidisciplinary ways of understanding the mind and cognition. The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS) is a landmark, comprehensive reference work that represents the methodological and theoretical diversity of this changing field.
In this book Simon Parsons describes qualitative methods for reasoning under uncertainty, "uncertainty" being a catch-all term for various types of imperfect information. The advantage of qualitative methods is that they do not require precise numerical information. Instead, they work with abstractions such as interval values and information about how values change. The author does not invent completely new methods for reasoning under uncertainty but provides the means to create qualitative versions of existing methods.
In this engaging book, Jerry Fodor argues against the widely held view that mental processes are largely computations, that the architecture of cognition is massively modular, and that the explanation of our innate mental structure is basically Darwinian. Although Fodor has praised the computational theory of mind as the best theory of cognition that we have got, he considers it to be only a fragment of the truth. In fact, he claims, cognitive scientists do not really know much yet about how the mind works (the book's title refers to Steve Pinker's How the Mind Works).
By the mid-1980s researchers from artificial intelligence, computer science, brain and cognitive science, and psychology realized that the idea of computers as intelligent machines was inappropriate. The brain does not run "programs"; it does something entirely different. But what? Evolutionary theory says that the brain has evolved not to do mathematical proofs but to control our behavior, to ensure our survival. Researchers now agree that intelligence always manifests itself in behavior—thus it is behavior that we must understand.
The annual conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) is the flagship conference on neural computation. The conference is interdisciplinary, with contributions in algorithms, learning theory, cognitive science, neuroscience, vision, speech and signal processing, reinforcement learning and control, implementations, and diverse applications. Only about 30 percent of the papers submitted are accepted for presentation at NIPS, so the quality is exceptionally high. These proceedings contain all of the papers that were presented at the 2000 conference.
The idea of knowledge bases lies at the heart of symbolic, or "traditional," artificial intelligence. A knowledge-based system decides how to act by running formal reasoning procedures over a body of explicitly represented knowledge—a knowledge base. The system is not programmed for specific tasks; rather, it is told what it needs to know and expected to infer the rest.
This book is for students and researchers who have a specific interest in learning and memory and want to understand how computational models can be integrated into experimental research on the hippocampus and learning. It emphasizes the function of brain structures as they give rise to behavior, rather than the molecular or neuronal details. It also emphasizes the process of modeling, rather than the mathematical details of the models themselves.