[Rasch] Fan

Stephen Humphry stephen.humphry at uwa.edu.au
Wed Oct 31 18:21:56 EST 2007


Hi Paul.

Paul: Has it never occurred to you what the development of the concept of
the neural net - and connectionism - actually kickstarted? Neural nets are
"old hat" now - and have been incorporated into the greater field of "soft
computing" and the development of many new "autonomous agent" and
decision-support systems.

Steve: Has it occurred to me? I simply don't agree it "kickstarted" such
things.

A relevant quote ...

"Although neural nets do solve a few toy problems, their powers of
computation are so limited that I am surprised anyone takes them seriously
as a general problem-solving tool." (Dewdney, 1997 p.82)

Sure, Dewdney's view has been contested, as you'd expect either way.
However, scientific work based on non-linear dynamical systems occurred in a
range of disciplines including Biology, Economics, Physics and Computing
(see Waldrop, 1992 for an account from one perspective). The broader
scientific work would have occurred whether or not the concept of a neural
net existed. We could get into a lengthy debate over this topic but it's not
really the place. I think we'll probably have to agree to disagree.



Reference

Dewdney, A. K. (1997). Yes, We Have No Neutrons: An Eye-Opening Tour through
the Twists and Turns of Bad Science. Wiley, John & Sons, Inc.

Waldrop (1992). Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and
Chaos. Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 



-----Original Message-----
From: rasch-bounces at acer.edu.au [mailto:rasch-bounces at acer.edu.au] On Behalf
Of Paul Barrett
Sent: Wednesday, 31 October 2007 2:00 PM
To: rasch at acer.edu.au
Subject: RE: [Rasch] Fan


 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephen Humphry [mailto:stephen.humphry at uwa.edu.au]
> Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 4:54 PM
> To: commons at tiac.net; Paul Barrett; rasch at acer.edu.au
> Subject: RE: [Rasch] Fan
> 
> 

> 
> I'm interested to know what "wow" factor (as Paul put it) arises from 
> neural networks. They've created a lot of interest, but it is hype as 
> far as I'm concerned. I would level precisely the same criticism at 
> this field -- nothing has been achieved as a result of work on neural 
> networks that would not have been otherwise achieved with the 
> emergence of information technologies.
> 

Well Stephen, what I thought was obvious from the sheer number of
application domains and practical applications (such as Palm and Pocket PC
Handwriting/character recognition systems which use hybrid algorithms and
networks) - let alone the kick-starting of the field of computational
neuroscience, is actually "hype".

Next time you apply for a credit card, wonder about the technology being
used to assess your credit rating and bankruptcy liability. Oh yes, when you
climb into a lift in a multiple-lift high-rise - consider the AI in the lift
positioning system in the building .. And what about autonomous underwater
vehicle guidance systems - and medical scanning recognition support systems
etc., and don't forget the missile guidance systems which apparently use
hybrid networks.  

Has it never occurred to you what the development of the concept of the
neural net - and connectionism - actually kickstarted? Neural nets are "old
hat" now - and have been incorporated into the greater field of "soft
computing" and the development of many new "autonomous agent" and
decision-support systems.

The "wow" factor was that you could create prediction solutions which
greatly exceeded the best that linear methods could accomplish, from the
interconnectivity of single processing units using a set of finite rules. It
was also "wow" because it seemed to allow investigators to model brain
function like never before - even though the artificiality was always
present. 

Hype or no hype - that "breakthrough" generated real research and
applications "heat" - and practical and commercial developments in multiple
kinds of systems and knowledge-domains. 

But, we have now moved very far from the reason for my original post, and
Moritz has generated a far more challenging post to Rasch advocates than
mine!

Regards .. Paul
__________________________________________________
Paul Barrett                    918.749-0632 x 326
Chief Research Scientist            Skype: pbar088
Hogan Assessment Systems Inc.
2622 East 21st St., Tulsa, OK 74114          
 
Email: pbarrett at hoganassessments.com 
Web:   www.hoganassessments.com 
 


 

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