Introduction

Early neural modelers (in the 1960s) were faced with a dilemma. Digital computers of that era were not user-friendly as tools for interactive modeling, and analog computers were also unwieldy. Also, far less was known about the behavior of specific ionic conductances and transmembrane proteins in determining the observable electrical phenomena of neuronal transmembrane voltage. Thus, many neural modelers in the 1960s developed dedicated, compact transistor circuits to emulate spike generation, and various nonlinear RC low-pass networks to model the generation of epsps and ipsps, and signal conduction on dendrites.

Such electronic neuromimes were relatively crude phenomenological models. They did offer the experimenter two advantages, however; they ran in real time, and they could be easily interconnected with patch cords. Also, the modeler could listen to their spike outputs on headphones or loudspeakers as the familiar "pop, pop" heard when recording from biological neurons. Thus, the experimenter's hearing could detect subtle changes in phase between two spike outputs, frequency changes, bursting, etc. A definitely qualitative approach, but fun to do.

The following sections examine some of the criteria used by the neuromime modelers, and neuromime circuits developed by the author.

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