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The Australian National University
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science
Department of Computer Science
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Welcome to the Web Page of L. Andrew Coward

I am an Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University.

Research objective

To understand the cognitive behaviour of the human brain in terms of neurophysiology, and to build electronic systems with similar behaviour.

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 System Architecture Approach to the Brain: from Neurons to Consciousness" 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.


e-mail:    andrew.coward@anu.edu.au 

Mail:      Department of Computer Science
               College of Engineering and Computer
               Australian National University
               Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia