Monthly
288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
ISSN
0899-7667
E-ISSN
1530-888X
2014 Impact factor:
2.21

Neural Computation

October 1, 1998, Vol. 10, No. 7, Pages 1601-1638
(doi: 10.1162/089976698300017052)
© 1998 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Analog Versus Digital: Extrapolating from Electronics to Neurobiology
Article PDF (271.58 KB)
Abstract

We review the pros and cons of analog and digital computation. We propose that computation that is most efficient in its use of resources is neither analog computation nor digital computation but, rather, a mixture of the two forms. For maximum efficiency, the information and information-processing resources of the hybrid form must be distributed over many wires, with an optimal signal-to-noise ratio per wire. Our results suggest that it is likely that the brain computes in a hybrid fashion and that an underappreciated and important reason for the efficiency of the human brain, which consumes only 12 W, is the hybrid and distributed nature of its architecture.