Welcome to the Web Page of L. Andrew Coward
I am an Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Engineering
Computer Science at the Australian National University.
To understand the cognitive
behaviour of the human brain in terms of
neurophysiology, and to build electronic systems with similar
The starting point of my research is a set of
system theoretical considerations
I have developed on the basis of my extensive experience in the design
of extremely complex real time
control systems (bio). These theoretical
considerations indicate that the architecture of any system which must
perform a complex combination of control behaviours will be strongly
constrained into some specific forms by a number of practical
considerations. In the case of a system designed under external
intellectual control, these forms include the memory, processing
separation often called the von Neumann architecture. In the case of a
system which learns, these forms are called the recommendation
architecture. There is considerable evidence that natural selection
pressures deriving from practical considerations like the need to limit
information handling resources and the need to learn without
interference with prior learning have constrained the mammal brain into
this recommendation architecture form. The presence of this
architectural form provides a route by which
higher cognitive phenomena up to and including human consciousness and
self awareness can be understood in terms of physiology.
The theoretical considerations and descriptions of how higher cognition
can be understood in terms of physiology are presented in my published papers
and also in my book "A
to the Brain: from Neurons to
recently released in paperback
The implication of my research is that
it is relatively straightforward to understand higher cognition,
including phenomena often labelled "conscious", in terms of physiology.
An outline of how this is possible is provided here.
For more details
consult the published work.
Mail: Department of Computer
College of Engineering
Canberra, ACT 0200,