Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering

First Advisor

Albin J. Gasiewski

Second Advisor

Frank Barnes

Third Advisor

David Beeman


Little is known yet about how the brain can recognize arbitrary sensory patterns within milliseconds using neural spikes to communicate information between neurons. In a typical brain there are several layers of neurons, with each neuron axon connecting to ∼104 synapses of neurons in an adjacent layer. The information necessary for cognition is contained in theses synapses, which strengthen during the learning phase in response to newly presented spike patterns.

Continuing on the model proposed in "Models for Neural Spike Computation and Cognition" by David H. Staelin and Carl H. Staelin, this study seeks to understand cognition from an information theoretic perspective and develop potential models for artificial implementation of cognition based on neuronal models. To do so we focus on the mathematical properties and limitations of spike-based cognition consistent with existing neurological observations. We validate the cognon model through software simulation and develop concepts for an optical hardware implementation of a network of artificial neural cognons.