meeting with Wolfgang Spahn

I met with an artist, Wolfgang Spahn to talk about hardware Artificial Neural Network. He is one of the creator of the Analog Neural Network >> . Recently he finished the new version of the analog neuron sound installation, with 155 Neurons in the oscillating network.

Wolfgang’s neurons are made with all analog electronics. The neurons work more like schmitt trigger, with inverted pair feeding each other ,creating oscillation. As it is analog circuit, he can add multiple signals to input of the trigger circuit, using resister as the weight for the inputs. In some cases, he used LDR as weights that is adjustable with light (LED). His networks are not made for learning, but rather to experiment with the complex network system that creates the ever changing sequence of synthesis.

We further discussed the possibility of creating analog neural network with capability of back propagation. For this, we will need a system to control the weights. We thought of LDR, temperature sensor.. to control the resistance on the connections between the two neurons. But still we will need to calculate the back propagation with analog circuit, that will be challenging. It will be nice to investigate on this in future.

He also gave me reference to other artists working with hardware neural networks.

Norm White is one of the pioneer of the technology art, and he had the idea to create system that works like neurons. Here is his talk

Peter Flemming in collaboration with Norm White, developed Neuromimes, an electronic model of an organic nerve cell. It also plays sound and triggers light connected to optic fiber.

An artist and musician, David Tudor also has developed a music project, The Neural Network Synthesizer in late 80s to early 90s.