I'll argue that combining analog computation with digital communication can effectively combat increased heterogeneity (a.k.a., mismatch) and stochasticity (a.k.a., noise) as transistors scale down to a few nanometers. Intriguingly, the brain adopts precisely such a hybrid approach to combat the heterogeneity and stochasticity that arise from its nanoscale ionchannels' probabilistic expression and operation. Neurons' dendritic trees use graded potentials to combine thousands of inputs (c.f., analog computation) while their axonal arbors use allornone spikes to transmit the resulting output to thousands of other neurons (c.f., digital communication).
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Prof. Kwabena Boahen Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University
Research Area: Director of Brains in Silicon Lab