"Why Analog is Cool Again"

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.04.12 22:18 EDT)]
There is a brief article “Why Analog is Cool Again” on p. 40 of
Wired for March 2003, about consumer products using analog
technology initiated by Carver Mead (CalTech emeritus, founder of Foveon
(camera chips), cofounder of Synaptics (touchpads).

    /Bruce

Nevin

From Fred Nickols (2003.04.13.0835 EDT)] --

You can find the article Bruce mentions at the link below:

Bruce Nevin (2003.04.12 22:18 EDT)]

There is a brief article "Why Analog is Cool Again" on p. 40 of Wired for
March 2003, about consumer products using analog technology initiated by
Carver Mead (CalTech emeritus, founder of Foveon (camera chips), cofounder
of Synaptics (touchpads).

Fred Nickols
nickols@safe-t.net
www.nickols.us

[From Bill Powers (2003.04.13.0906 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.04.12 22:18 EDT)--

There is a brief article "Why Analog is Cool Again" on p. 40 of Wired for
March 2003, about consumer products using analog technology initiated by
Carver Mead (CalTech emeritus, founder of Foveon (camera chips), cofounder
of Synaptics (touchpads).

Carver Mead also founded something called "neuromorphic engineering," which
I described on CSGnet a few years ago. Do a Google search on that term to
see many references to it, including groups at USC, UCLA, and the
University of Maryland. Neuromorphic engineering is about VLSI (Very Large
Scale Integration) chips which contain mostly-analog devices in very large
numbers. Mead devised a program for turning a design into an
automatically-manufactured chip. I ran across neuromorphic engineering in
connection with Mead's work on an artificial retina. There is a NE
conference at Telluride every year, which I haven't yet attended.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bjorn Simonsen (2003.04.22,22:15 EST)]

From Fred Nickols (2003.04.13.0835 EDT)] --

You can find the article Bruce mentions at the link below:

signal : noise | WIRED

There are many articles about analog technology on the net. I fall for

http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v21n2/p24.html

I am inclined to believe that we will learn more about analog technology in
CSG in the next years. And I think I am going to contact proff. Johnathan
Mills about his barn owl.

bjorn

[From Fred Nickols (2003.04.22.1712 ET)] --

[Bjorn Simonsen (2003.04.22,22:15 EST)]

> From Fred Nickols (2003.04.13.0835 EDT)] --

>You can find the article Bruce mentions at the link below:

>signal : noise | WIRED

There are many articles about analog technology on the net. I fall for

http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v21n2/p24.html

I am inclined to believe that we will learn more about analog technology in
CSG in the next years. And I think I am going to contact proff. Johnathan
Mills about his barn owl.

bjorn

I took a look. When you contact Mills, be sure to find out what he knows
about (a) control theory and (b) PCT. There could be a really productive
exchange lurking in the woods here.

Fred Nickols

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.04.22.0159)]

Thanks for sharing Bjorn. Great stuff. I for one would be interested in any
communication you had with the good Prof.

Good luck

Marc

···

At 10:15 PM 4/22/2003 +0200, you wrote:

[From Bjorn Simonsen (2003.04.22,22:15 EST)]

> From Fred Nickols (2003.04.13.0835 EDT)] --

>You can find the article Bruce mentions at the link below:

>signal : noise | WIRED

There are many articles about analog technology on the net. I fall for

http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v21n2/p24.html

I am inclined to believe that we will learn more about analog technology in
CSG in the next years. And I think I am going to contact proff. Johnathan
Mills about his barn owl.

bjorn

[Bjorn Simonsen (2003.04.27 07:30 EST)]

from [ Marc Abrams (2003.04.22.0159)]

Thanks for sharing Bjorn. Great stuff. I for one would be interested in any
communication you had with the good Prof.

Here is my communication with Professor Jonatham Mills.
I will let his answer rest until I hear what Bill say. As you can see, they
have also had a communication.

bjorn

Professor Johnathan Mills

[From Bjorn Simonsen, CSG 2002.04.26)

I read about you and your Kirchhoff-Lukasiewicz Machine (Leigh Hedger). It
was interestingly. I got myself in 2002 the chance to see Wolfgang Zocher's
(CSG) working analog computing setup, vintage 1968.

But I write this mail after reading the passage.

During one seminar, Mills and his students spent sixteen weeks studying
these circuits. At the end, "we weren't quite sure how to build even
the simplest neural network circuit, a kind of analog circuit that
models the robust way that the brain learns to recognizepatterns. We thought
we were getting close, but it was very frustrating for the students who were
seeing firsthand a professor grappling with a problem. There were no books,
no papers, no previous lecture notes for students searching for answers.
Then they realized: nobody knows this stuff."

I am afraid I misunderstand, but I can't let the chance go away and mention
Bill Powers PCT and HPCT. I am not the one who should write this, but I
nevertheless do it. I first read about PCT in 1998 and I felt confidence in
the same moment. His "Behavior: The control of perception" gave me many
answers. I know BP knows about analog computers but he has put an analog
computer Premise in his model of neural function. I think it is worth trying
to visit http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/csg/. And why not try the Search Function
for some analog concepts. And why not visit
http://users.ipfw.edu/abbott/pct/hexapod/HexapodProject.html.

I see you have worked with a model of the brain of a barn owl. A model (barn
owl) which simulated several owl behaviors sparked by sensory inputs.
Is it possible to read more about your work with the barn owl?

I work with a model of a human being standing on a ship's deck in heavy sea.
I use both a simple model of a human being and a very simple model of the
brain. I make the simulation on my PC and in the bottom is PCT which is an
analog representation of the working brain.

You should join CSG for a while (it is easy in http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/csg/ )
and I would have something to look forward to. (I know Bill Powers sent you
a mail and he is better in "establishing contact" than me.)

Bjorn Simonsen,
bsimonsen@c2i.net
Bergen, Norway

I got this answer:

Good afternoon, Bjorn,

Thank you for your note. Bill and I have talked, and I have ordered a copy
of BCP. Bill had some kind things to say about my work, and some
interesting things to say about his.

Over the past week I have read much of the material from the CSG site, and
followed many links. It is possible that the work my students and I have
done in analog computing and robotics might be of interest to the CSG
group. I know that Dr. Abbott was working on a robot similar to one my
students, David Braun and Gary Parker, built around 1998, and for which
Gary invented cyclic genetic algorithms to evolve gaits and search
patterns. Also, Stiquito, a small nitinol hexapod, is very similar to the
hexapod Dr. Kennaway models. In the past we have studied (and I have
built) Stiquitos with various control mechanisms, although I have never
used on Stiquito an analog computer of the kind I study now.

The analog computer model I study is, however, far more general and
applicable to far more areas than BCP only. Applications I have studied
include:

        - logical gates
        - tissue models of computation (not just neural tissue alone)
        - related to above, "Tyto computatrix", the electronic Barn Owl
        - internet traffic modelling and management
        - pattern recognition, including chip detection in lubricant flows
        - cyclotron beam line control
        - morphogenesis (pattern generation a la Turing's 1952 paper)
        - adaptive missile control and tracking
        - robot gait generation
        - and others

Of course, BCP has spread into some diverse areas, too. Perhaps
fundamental paradigms do this. I believe they do.

I am not sure where to go next. I do know that I no longer do anything
except those things that directly further my research. I have restricted
my interests in robotics, for example. However, that does NOT mean that I
do not take an interest in work like BCP. If it furthers my goals, I do.

What do you suggest? Do you want to learn about my work, and, perhaps with
Bill as a collaborator, write a paper titled, shall we say, something like
this:

  Electronic Plastic Computers for the Behavioral Control of Perception

?

Are YOU interested in taking such an action?

Respectfully,

Jonathan

From [ Marc Abrams (2003.04.22.0500)]

Thanks again for sharing. Great stuff.

[Bjorn Simonsen (2003.04.27 07:30 EST)]

Jonathan Mills replied in part...

What do you suggest? Do you want to learn about my work, and, perhaps with
Bill as a collaborator, write a paper titled, shall we say, something like
this:

  Electronic Plastic Computers for the Behavioral Control of Perception

?

Are YOU interested in taking such an action?

Respectfully,

Jonathan

So? :-). Are you interested in doing something?

Curious people want to know. :slight_smile:

Thanks again Bjorn.

Marc

···

At 07:27 AM 4/27/2003 +0200, you wrote: