Nikolay Amosov - Founder of Biocybernetical Information Technologies Nikolay Amosov about his Life and Works Pictures. Supplements. Bibliography

Nikolay Amosov - Founder of Biocybernetical Information Technologies

Dr.Alexander Kasatkin, Dr.Lora Kasatkina International Research and Training Center of Information Technologies and Systems of National Academia of Sciences of the Ukraine
The "Bible " of the Biocybernetics Department
Peculiarities of Amosov's School
The network of information models (M-network)
Period of Robototechnics
The Master
Modelling in sociology
Pictures. Literature. Supplements

The network of information models (M-network)

N.M.Amosov's theoretical statements on the brain's information processing mechanisms and on the principles of complex mental function generation were utilized in creating a special class of neuron-like networks, which was called an M-network. A.Kasatkin and L.Kasatkina proposed the M-network as a tool for modeling the information processing mechanisms in 1966. The M-network elements correspond to integral neural assemblies and are described as nonlinear analog data converters. Every element is associated with a specific concept. The links between elements reflect the interrelation and interaction of real or virtual objects, events, actions, states and so on, which are related to such concepts. Thus the M-network extends the neural network capacities due to introduction of a series of characteristics of semantic networks.

The main feature of an M-network is that excitation transfer procedures are determined on the multitude of its nodes and links. Excitation is a numerical value, which characterizes instantaneous actuality or value of informational concepts presented by the network's nodes. At any point in time, the state of M-network can be described with excitations distribution of its nodes. A special procedure conducts excitation transformation and transfer from some nodes to others, using the directional links already existing between the nodes. Every connection has a weight and can be reinforcing or inhibiting. A certain part of the M-network nodes is assigned a status of input (receptor) and output (effector) nodes. The actual processing of information coming through the receptor entries occurs in the M-network's central part. This part reflects the knowledge and reasoning of a human specialist within the data domain being modeled. A vital part in the operation of an M-network is played by the system for reinforcement and inhibition, the SRI. At any point in time, SRI selects the most active node, that is, the most topical information, and reinforces the influence of this information on the subsequent processes within the network. SRI selection of one of the output nodes is interpreted as making a decision, which corresponds to the semantics of this particular node.

Computer models of intelligent behaviour, REM (1965-67) and MOD (1968-71), which were developed during this period, allowed to demonstrate that it was in principle possible to create neural networks imitated by mechanisms generating complex mental functions. Specifically, the mechanisms of emotion generation and their effect on behavioural act formation were modeled. REM and MOD were created as prototypes of integral robots capable of independent assessment of their own state (their "body" state) and of environmental conditions, of planning their behaviour and making necessary decisions for the plan implementation or correction. The REM and MOD models were the first major attempts to reflect the psychological aspects of higher species and human behaviour by means of a neural network.

REM's M-network structure consisted of interrelated substructures, which implemented the functions of perception, conceptual generalizations, emotional evaluations and decision-making. This was the first attempt at a model instantiation of N.M.Amosov's hypothesis. It was not clear whether it would be altogether possible to organize the M-network in the required way, how complex the task of "adjusting" it would be in order to obtain at least somewhat intelligent behaviour and whether SRI actions would have the necessary effect. The answers to these questions could have been obtained only by creating a functionally non-specialized model. This was the exact reason for choosing a "robot" subject - movement in a conditional checker-board pattern environment containing objects that are "dangerous" and "useful" to REM, that is, everyday behaviour. Model's conformance to N.M.Amosov's hypothesis was evaluated based on two criteria: expediency of external behavioural manifestations (of the actual movement) and expediency of "external" reactions, that is, the stimuli for choosing one or another action. Through modification of M-network's structure (or simply of individual connection weights), different "personality" types for REM were being created - aggressive, calm, and timid. The M-network's structure was not changed during the experiment. Quite a few experiments were conducted, which was not easy at the time (1966-67) - M-220 was the only "large" computing machine in the Institute of Cybernetics, and it was fairly difficult to "get" the computing time. However, after REM it became clear that it is indeed possible, based on N.M.Amosov's hypothesis, to create neural network structures which generate intelligent behaviour, and, what is more interesting, an intelligent motivation for such behaviour.

The subsequent model (MOD) was implemented already on a more powerful and high-speed computer BESM-6, but since the model itself was more complex, even relatively simple experiments on this machine required 1.5 to 2 hours of computing time. The main distinction from REM was in MOD's ability to plan its movement and to learn in the process of interacting with the environment.

Period of Robototechnics