Build your own neural processor with two international acclaimed special guests

Usman Haque and Robert Davis are artists in residence at the Netherlands Media Art Institute from April -June 2007. Haque is an architect who specializes in reactive environments, interactive installations, digital interfaces and performances. Robert Davis is Systems Developer in the Psychology Department, Goldsmiths College. Their knowledge is expressed in both designing physical spaces and making software and systems that bring these spaces to life.

For more information about Usman Haque:
For more information about Robert Davis


Introduction to building neural nets with analog electronics

The purpose of the workshop will be to introduce participants to the concepts of neural networks and how to build them using simple analog electronics. Participants will be able to understand how they might be applied in their own projects.

In the process, participants will be introduced to various types of learning, types of neural networks and types of neurons (e.g. those that are biologically plausible simulations and those that are not; the differences between summation and integrate-and-fire models).

Participants will be provided with modular boards and analog components and will build, neuron by neuron, their own simple neural processor. At each stage they will be encouraged to understand exactly what is happening in their circuit and how this relates (or doesn't) to biological models.

Finally, towards the end of the day, all the neural processors will be connected, in order to create a much larger single neural net. At this point a variety of sensors (e.g. thermistors, light dependent resistors, buttons) and actuators (LEDs, motors, buzzers) will be swapped around in order to speculate about how such a system might be useful in participants' own projects.

Participants should have some experience with electronics; if they know what a resistor and op-amp are, know how to use a voltmeter, and have soldered before then they will be OK. Those who don't have experience are welcome to join but will be paired with someone more experienced.

Participants should bring their own:
- soldering iron & solder
- voltmeter
- any sensors/actuators they would like to use for their neural net
(some will be provided, so this is not compulsory)