Warren McCulloch

McCulloch, Warren


Born Nov. 16, 1898, in Orange, N.J.; died Sept. 24, 1969, in Old Lyme, Conn. American neurophysiologist, one of the founders of cybernetics and bionics.

McCulloch received his training in neurophysiology, psychiatry, and physics at Yale and Columbia universities. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1921, a master’s degree in 1923, and the degree of doctor of medicine in 1927. Before 1952 he worked at Bellevue Hospital, Rockland Hospital, Yale University, and the medical school of the University of Illinois; in 1952 he went to the Electronics Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His principal works are devoted to the functional organization of the central nervous system and to the theory of diagrams and networks that reproduce the work of the brain. Best known are his works analyzing information phenomena in nerve networks by means of mathematical logic. The concept of the formal neuron introduced by McCulloch in collaboration with the American mathematician W. Pitts—a mathematical abstraction from neurophysiological data—has permanent theoretical and epistemological significance in modern cybernetics and bionics. In 1964, McCulloch was elected the first president of the American Society for Cybernetics.


In Russian translation:
“Logicheskoe ischislenie idei, otnosiashchikhsia k nervnoi aktivnosti.” In the collection Avtomaty. Moscow, 1956. (Written jointly with W. Pitts.)
“Podrazhanie odnikh form zhizni drugim formam—biomimezis.” In the collection Problemy bioniki. Moscow, 1965.
“Nadezhnost’ biologicheskikh sistem.” In the collection Samoorganizuiushchiesia sistemy. Moscow, 1964.


Gutchin I. B., and A. S. Kuzichev. Bionika i nadezhnost’: Elementy teorii formarnykh neironov. Moscow, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
In particular, she focuses on investigating the role of various prominent human and social scientists, such as the neural net pioneer Warren McCulloch and the logician Walter Pitts, in reconceptualizing reason as a resource for a new methodology and assessment.
Neuroscientist Warren McCulloch and logician Walter Pitts present a logical calculus based on neuron-like "logic units" that can be connected together in networks to model the action of a real brain.
The conference was also known as the "Man-Machine Project," and was launched in 1942 by participants such as Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Warren McCulloch, Arturo Rosenblueth, and a host of visitors including Max Horkheimer.
For example, two important areas of work in nontraditional AI were inspired by the work of early cyberneticists: Rodney Brooks (former director of the AI Lab at MIT and chief technology officer of iRobot Corporation) credits Walter's tortoises with inspiring his research with situated robots, and Warren McCulloch (another early cybernetics worker not discussed in the book) was the father of the field that evolved into the study of neural networks.
It grew, as has long been acknowledged, out of interdisciplinary discussions at MIT in the Second World War, involving amongst others Wiener, Arturo Rosenblueth, Vannovar Bush and Julian Bigelow: and from the meetings on `Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems' sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr Foundation in New York between 1946 and 1953, under the chairmanship of the neurophysiologist and `experimental epistemologist,' Warren McCulloch. These meetings, attended by those we now recognise as amongst the great stars of immediate post war scientific life in the USA, included anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, mathematician and computation theorist John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener.
For example, Warren McCulloch's students Jerome Lettvin and Walter Pitts remembered his generosity and support which were important in their careers.