Fortunately for humankind and perhaps unfortunately for neuroscience, the brain is well protected by the skull; it is difficult to study and it certainly was not the first thing that our ancestors took an interest in, except possibly for bashing out each other's brains. After thousands of years of civilization, it was only in 1649 that René Descartes attempted to explain the brain as a machine. A few years later, Thomas Willis (1621–1675) systematically explored the anatomical parts of the brain. Thomas Willis published an anatomy of the brain and nerves in 1664. His work was quite detailed, with much new information for his day, and presents a dramatic contrast with the vague and poor efforts of previous physicians.

When modeling brain memory, one needs a basic vocabulary. Figure A-1 illustrates the major areas of the brain. The cerebrum is the general volume of the right and left hemisphere regions in the upper forebrain. It contains the cerebral cortex, a layer of cells, or gray matter, and the underlying connections, or white matter. The frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex is thought to be where important memories are activated for decisions and actions. It is in front of the ears. The human frontal lobes and the prefrontal cortex directly behind the forehead serve to provide solutions to problems both novel and familiar, possibly generic solutions that have been worked out beforehand and stored in memory. There is a back-to-front ...

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