John von Neumann
JOHN VON NEUMANN  Macroknow Library

The Computer and the Brain.

" . . . [T]he nervous system has a prima facie digital character."1a* CRICK

"The central nervous system occupies a space of the order magnitude of a liter (in the brain), i.e. of 103 cm.3 The number of neurons contained in this system is usually estimated to be of the order of 1010 . . . "1b

"The energy dissipation in the human central nervous system (in the brain) is of the order of 10 watts."1c

" . . . [T]he message-system used in the nervous system . . . is of an essentially statistical character."1d* CRICK

"The basic human languages are traditionally transmitted to us in various forms, but their very multiplicity proves that there is nothing absolute and necessary about them. . . [I]t is only reasonable to assume that logics and mathematics are similarly historical, accidental forms of expression."1e


* Italics in the original.

1 John von Neumann (1903-1957). The Computer and the Brain. (Yale University Silliman Lectures.) Preface by Klara von Neumann. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1958.
Part 2: The Brain. The Nature of the Nerve Impulse, at 43-44.
b Ibid., at 48.
c Ibid., at 49.
d Part 2: The Brain. Nature of the System of Notations Employed, at 79.
e Ibid., at 81.