Cool Technology

Neural Nets

Genetic Connectionism

Evolutionary Computation and ALife

Quantum Information

Applied Chaos



Last Updated: 15 March 2000

Neural Networks

We've gotten good at using computers to supplement what human brains do poorly (e.g. numerical integration), but brains and computers work very differently. In the old science fiction movies, white-coated actors used to call the huge boxes with whirling tape drives and myriad flashing lights an 'electronic brain,' but even then scientists knew that this was not at all true. Since brains can perform some functions easily that computers can do only with great difficulty - if at all - this begs the question of how we an build computers which are more like brains.

Neural networks are a technology which has just taken off in the last 15 years or so, and is starting to go mainstream. In simple terms, neural nets attempt to crudely imitate the biological processes for recognizing, classifying and responding appropriately to external stimuli. This is sometimes called 'parallel distributed processing.' The most sophisticated artificial neural nets are a long way from even the smallest vertebrate brains, but still show great promise for solving problems which are very difficult to solve robustly with conventional solutions.

I'm interested in exchanging Matlab scripts or related information pertaining to applications of neural nets. My own NN projects so far have been primitive. Among other things, I am interested in applications of NNs to smart spacecraft.



Novel Neural Net Recognizes Spoken Words Better Than Human Listeners.

The Learning Processor

Neural Network FAQ.

Neural Network Applications

A thesis on recurrent neural nets.

An article on NNs for the General Reader.

An article on why brains and computers are different.

NN Sites

Teuvo Kohonen's page.

About the work of this important Finnish researcher. Most of the content is in English.


Developers of a Linux-based NN toolbox.


At King's College in London.

Demo GNG.

A very cool site which uses Java to demonstrate the 'Neural Gas' concept.

The Backpropagator's Online Reading List.

Evolutionary Development of Neural Architectures

At Iowa State University. Combining Neural nets and genetic algorithms sounds like a great idea to me. There is also a companion paper.

Neural Net Free Software FAQ.

Very useful.

Neural Net Software

A list of available software for neural nets. This is a European site, so some of the software listed may be hard to come by stateside. An interesting site nevertheless.

Center for Theoretical Neuroscience

At Baylor College of Medicine. These folks are working on some neat stuff. If so inclined, you can go get your MD/PhD at Baylor, and work on neuroscience.

NN Applications Sites

Terra Research.

A NN software company.

University of Glasgow.

Describes research in Neural adaptive control.

Computational Sciences Division

at NASA Ames has some cool Neural Net projects summarized here.

Parallel Distributed Processing in General

Big Science.

A very cool idea. Check them out.

Evolutionary Computation and Artificial Life

I think genetic algorithms - a subset of 'population based methods' are even more fascinating than neural nets, and not only because they hold vast promise for solving all kinds of problems.

Again, we're trying to imitate one of nature's great successes to achieve globally optimized solutions to problems which don't depend on the imagination or cleverness of humans. After all, humans can really only be really creative about items in the immediate consciousness - usually about 7 things for most people. The really cool thing is that great imagination can be built into an algorithm using some simple principles with familiar biological analogies, and this is not limited to what human consciousness can handle. A genetic algorithm can find solutions which require finely balancing a large number of independent variables - something nature does all the time.

General Evolutionary Computation Sites

Genetic Algorithm Maze Solver

A very cool Java applet illustrating genetic algorithms. Interesting thingds happen when you try to fool it.

Particle Swarm Optimization.

A brief description and bibliography.

Evolutionary Computation Group at Edinburgh.

Natural Selection Inc.

This is a for-profit company which applies natural computation to real problems.

Artificial Life Online

At the Sante Fe Institute

Nova Genetica -

This is probably the only site you need. It has a wide selection of links and lots of other useful information.


What more can you ask for? Humor and EC in one action packed site.

Genetic Algorithms -

Bills itself as the "Hitchhiker's Guide to Evolutionary Computation."

The Evolutionary Computation course -

offered by Johns Hopkins University.

Illinois Genetic Algorithms Lab

The Evolutionary Art of Steven Rooke.

An artistic application of genetic algorithms. A visual treat.

The Genetic Algorithms Archive.

Papers and Articles

Genetic Algorithms to Design Fuel Additives.

July 1999.

Darwin's Toughest Spacecraft.

April 1999.

John Miller - A modeler of messy theories.

A 1999 article in the Santa Fe Institute Bulletin about a researcher who uses Genetic Algorithms to critique economic models.

My Topical Critique of Mutliploidy in EC.

Most genetic algorithms are haploid, whereas most sexually reproducing creatures are diploid or even mutiploid. My very dry review of some of the literature, and a few comments of my own.

Tutorials and other Educational Resources

A Book on DNA Computing.

L-Systems Tutorial

This is a brief, easy to understand explanation of Lindenmayer systems, which use simple rules to - among other things - describe the growth of plants. Jari Vaario has used L systems in his research.

Software and Code

Simon Frasier's MacTierra page.

A Genetic Algorithm Maze Solver.

Genetic Connectionism

This Field brings together Neural Nets with Evolutionayr Computation and ALife. There's much good work going on in this field, mostly in Europe and Japan.

Researchers and Research Groups

Jari Vaario.

Evolutionary Development of Neural Architectures -

combining Neural nets and genetic algorithms sounds like a great idea to me. If anyone wants to give me a tutorial, feel free.

Dr. Hugo de Garis - Brain Building Group



My own first feeble attempt at Evolving Neural Networks.

Quantum Information

I'm just starting to get into this exotic and exciting area. These technologies have a long way to go before going mainstream, but practical devices are now on the horizon.

A popular article from Wired on Quantum Teleportation.

The Oxford Center for Quantum Computation

Quantum Information Dynamics

A page at Caltech on the link between quantum mechanics and information theory. Includes several papers which can be downloaded.

What is Quantum Information? -

From the American Institute of Physics
Quantum information and quantum computation
Quantum computation: a tutorial
Quantum Information Home Page




The sci.nonlinear FAQ.

A very helpful list of Frequently asked questions about nonlinear dynamics and Chaos. Not quite for the general reader, though.

A Tutorial on Symbolic Dynamics.

A Chaos and AI Page -

Georgia Tech Applied Chaos Laboratory

In case you question me grouping Chaos under the heading of 'technology.'

Articles and Papers

Controlling Chaos with Neural Networks



'Eye' Chip Tracks Movement.

CALResCo - An organization researching Complex systems.

The Complex Systems Virtual Library

Computing Technologies Links.

UCLA Cognitive Systems Laboratory.

The Lunar Rover Initiative at Carnegie-Mellon.

The Foresight Institute. K. Eric Drexler's Nanotechnology pages.

Big Science. A very cool idea. Check them out.

Wolfram Research. Publishers of Mathematica.

Nonlinear Science Links. A Site at Texas A&M with all kinds of good links.


Harmonic Analysis and Wavelets.

An Article on Exhaustive Search.

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