Large-scale systems are hierarchically organized to manage their complexity. Silicon computing makes extensive use of hierarchies but computational models of the brain have tended to sidestep hierarchical organization. The central premise of the book is that the brain can be seen as an ordered layered system of hierarchical organization. Higher levels of abstraction provide economical descriptions cognitive problems that can be searched quickly as lower levels handle important bookkeeping details. Within the benefits of such an organization, the slowness of the neural circuitry is still a formidable enterprise. The brain’s principle computational tricks are introduced. Finally the adequacy of the computational enterprise itself is touched upon.
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