Igor Aleksander

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Igor Aleksander
Born (1937-01-26) January 26, 1937 (age 82) [1] [2]
Alma mater Queen Mary College, London

Igor Aleksander FREng [4] (born 26 January 1937) is an emeritus professor of Neural Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London. He worked in artificial intelligence and neural networks and designed the world's first neural pattern recognition system in the 1980s. [5]

Royal Academy of Engineering The United Kingdoms national association of engineers

The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) is the UK's national academy of engineering.

Imperial College London Public research university in London, United Kingdom

Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, England. In 1851, Prince Albert built his vision for a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Colleges, and the Imperial Institute. In 1907, Imperial College was established by Royal Charter, bringing together the Royal College of Science, Royal School of Mines, and City and Guilds College. In 1988, the Imperial College School of Medicine was formed through a merger with St Mary's Hospital Medical School. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.

In computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals. Computer science defines AI research as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is used to describe machines that mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".


Life and work

Aleksander was educated in Italy and graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, arriving in the UK in the late 1950s, intending to become a research student under Colin Cherry. Instead he found work with Standard Telephones and Cables, later joining Queen Mary College where he gained a PhD, subsequently becoming a lecturer there in 1961. He moved to the University of Kent in 1968 as a reader in Electronics and then to Brunel University as professor in 1974. In 1984 he became professor at Imperial College London as professor of the Management of Information Technology. [1] He was Head of Electrical Engineering and Gabor Professor of Neural Systems Engineering at Imperial College from 1988 to his retirement in 2002. [6] He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1988), and he served as Pro-rector of External Relations at Imperial College (1997). In 2005 he presented the Bernard Price Memorial Lecture.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

University of the Witwatersrand public research university in Johannesburg, South Africa

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, is a multi-campus South African public research university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg. It is more commonly known as Wits University or Wits. The university has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. Founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, it is the third oldest South African university in continuous operation.

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

His work centred on the modelling capability of artificial neural networks. He devised neuromodels of the visual system in primates, visuo-verbal system in humans, the effect of anaesthetics on awareness, and artificial consciousness. He inspired the engineering design of one of the first stand alone neural pattern recognition systems, the WISARD (anonym for Wilkie Stonham Aleksander's Recognition Device) which was named after the co-inventors Bruce Wilkie, John Stonham and Igor Aleksander. This Brunel University prototype WISARD was commercially developed and marketed by Computer Recognition Systems, Wokingham, under the trade name of ’CRS WISARD’ in 1984. After this, the further developments of this system do not appear to have been documented. A popular link for WISARD is that of “the wisard pattern recognition machine” at the Winton Gallery, British Science Museum.

Artificial neural network computational model used in machine learning, computer science and other research disciplines, which is based on a large collection of connected simple units called artificial neurons, loosely analogous to axons in a biological brain

Artificial neural networks (ANN) or connectionist systems are computing systems vaguely inspired by the biological neural networks that constitute animal brains. The neural network itself is not an algorithm, but rather a framework for many different machine learning algorithms to work together and process complex data inputs. Such systems "learn" to perform tasks by considering examples, generally without being programmed with any task-specific rules. For example, in image recognition, they might learn to identify images that contain cats by analyzing example images that have been manually labeled as "cat" or "no cat" and using the results to identify cats in other images. They do this without any prior knowledge about cats, for example, that they have fur, tails, whiskers and cat-like faces. Instead, they automatically generate identifying characteristics from the learning material that they process.

Visual system part of the brain concerned with seeing

The visual system is the part of the central nervous system which gives organisms the ability to process visual detail as sight, as well as enabling the formation of several non-image photo response functions. It detects and interprets information from visible light to build a representation of the surrounding environment. The visual system carries out a number of complex tasks, including the reception of light and the formation of monocular representations; the buildup of a nuclear binocular perception from a pair of two dimensional projections; the identification and categorization of visual objects; assessing distances to and between objects; and guiding body movements in relation to the objects seen. The psychological process of visual information is known as visual perception, a lack of which is called blindness. Non-image forming visual functions, independent of visual perception, include the pupillary light reflex (PLR) and circadian photoentrainment.

Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events. More broadly, it is the state of being conscious of something. Another definition describes it as a state wherein a subject is aware of some information when that information is directly available to bring to bear in the direction of a wide range of behavioral processes. The concept is often synonymous to consciousness and is also understood as being consciousness itself.

Aleksander received an honorary degree in Computer Engineering from University of Palermo in Jul 2011.

The University of Palermo is a university located in Palermo, Italy, and founded in 1806. It is organized in 12 Faculties.

See also

Artificial consciousness (AC), also known as machine consciousness (MC) or synthetic consciousness, is a field related to artificial intelligence and cognitive robotics. The aim of the theory of artificial consciousness is to "Define that which would have to be synthesized were consciousness to be found in an engineered artifact".

The Cybernetics Society is the UK based learned society that exists to promote the understanding of cybernetics. The core activity of the Cybernetics Society is the organization and facilitation of scientific meetings, conferences, and social events. The society's website provides information and news items for professionals in the field and the general audience in order to improve the understanding of cybernetics and associated disciplines. Among the activities of the Society are:

The Journal of Consciousness Studies is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated entirely to the field of consciousness studies. It was previously edited by Joseph Goguen. It is currently edited by Professor Valerie Gray Hardcastle of the University of Cincinnati.

Selected publications

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.


Related Research Articles

Mind uploading

Whole brain emulation (WBE), mind upload or brain upload is the hypothetical futuristic process of scanning the mental state of a particular brain substrate and copying it to a computer. The computer could then run a simulation model of the brain's information processing, such that it responds in essentially the same way as the original brain and experiences having a conscious mind.

Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is the intelligence of a machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. It is a primary goal of some artificial intelligence research and a common topic in science fiction and future studies. Some researchers refer to Artificial general intelligence as "strong AI", "full AI" or as the ability of a machine to perform "general intelligent action"; others reserve "strong AI" for machines capable of experiencing consciousness.

The expression computational intelligence (CI) usually refers to the ability of a computer to learn a specific task from data or experimental observation. Even though it is commonly considered a synonym of soft computing, there is still no commonly accepted definition of computational intelligence.

A cognitive architecture can refer to a theory about the structure of the human mind. One of the main goals of a cognitive architecture is to summarize the various results of cognitive psychology in a comprehensive computer model. However, the results need to be formalized so far as they can be the basis of a computer program. The formalized models can be used to further refine a comprehensive theory of cognition, and more immediately, as a commercially usable model. Successful cognitive architectures include ACT-R and SOAR.

Neural network Structure in biology and artificial intelligence

A neural network is a network or circuit of neurons, or in a modern sense, an artificial neural network, composed of artificial neurons or nodes. Thus a neural network is either a biological neural network, made up of real biological neurons, or an artificial neural network, for solving artificial intelligence (AI) problems. The connections of the biological neuron are modeled as weights. A positive weight reflects an excitatory connection, while negative values mean inhibitory connections. All inputs are modified by a weight and summed. This activity is referred as a linear combination. Finally, an activation function controls the amplitude of the output. For example, an acceptable range of output is usually between 0 and 1, or it could be −1 and 1.

An artificial brain is software and hardware with cognitive abilities similar to those of the animal or human brain.

Sankar Kumar Pal is a Distinguished Scientist and former Director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India. He is a computer scientist with an international reputation on fuzzy neural network, soft computing, and machine intelligence. He founded the Machine Intelligence Unit in 1993, and the Center for Soft Computing Research: A National Facility in 2004, both at the ISI. He is the founder President of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, Kolkata Chapter.

Quantum neural networks (QNNs) are neural network models which are based on the principles of quantum mechanics. There are two different approaches to QNN research, one exploiting quantum information processing to improve existing neural network models, and the other one searching for potential quantum effects in the brain.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to artificial intelligence:

A confabulation, also known as a false, degraded, or corrupted memory, is a stable pattern of activation in an artificial neural network or neural assembly that does not correspond to any previously learned patterns. The same term is also applied to the (nonartificial) neural mistake-making process leading to a false memory (confabulation).

Erkki Oja is a Finnish computer scientist and Aalto Distinguished Professor in the Department of Information and Computer Science at Aalto University School of Science. He is recognized for developing Oja's rule, which is a model of how neurons in the brain or in artificial neural networks learn over time. He is a Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition and the IEEE, and a member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences. He served as chairman of the European Neural Network Society between 2000 and 2005, and as the chairman of the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering between 2007 and 2012.

Dana Harry Ballard is a professor of computer science currently at the University of Texas at Austin and formerly with the University of Rochester.

Kwabena Adu Boahen is a Professor of Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania.

<i>How to Create a Mind</i> book by Raymond Kurzweil

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Anil K. Jain is an Indian-American computer scientist and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at Michigan State University, known for his contributions in the fields of pattern recognition, computer vision and biometric recognition. Based on his Google Scholar profile, he has an h-index of 181, which is the highest among computer scientists identified in a survey published by UCLA professor Jens Palsberg.

Most of the terms listed in Wikipedia glossaries are already defined and explained within Wikipedia itself. However, glossaries like this one are useful for looking up, comparing and reviewing large numbers of terms together. You can help enhance this page by adding new terms or writing definitions for existing ones.

Simon Stringer

Simon Stringer is a British Mathematician, Professor of Computational Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence, and Editor-in-Chief of Network: Computation in Neural Systems published by Taylor & Francis.


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  2. "ALEKSANDER, Prof. Igor". Who's Who 2012. Oxford University Press. 2011. Retrieved Nov 9, 2012.
  3. Jha, Alok (2005-06-23). "The simple things are hardest". The Guardian . Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  4. "List of Fellows".
  5. Igor Aleksander 1937–), Head of Intelligent and Interactive Systems at Imperial College, retrieved 17 April 2008.
  6. "Council: Staff Matters" (PDF). Imperial College London. 2002-10-18. Retrieved 2009-06-20.