Peculiarities of Amosov's School
On a theoretical level, two main features characterize the research of Amosov School.
The first feature is that not an individual neuron, but a set of neurons organized in a particular way - neuron assembly - is considered to be the core functional element of a neural network, its "principal character". Given this, the neural network appears now as a structure consisting of a multitude of interacting assemblies, each of which corresponds (and this is a very important point) to some individual image or concept out of a set of images and concepts that participates in forming integrative mental functions realized by the brain. That is, this set participates in the thought process. Thus the neural network turns out to be a network with semantics (a special kind of a semantic network). The origins of the present approach can be traced to the early works of a well-known physiologist D.Hebb, whose main study was published as early as in 1949.An important characteristic of this kind of network is that all of its elements at any point in time are active to some degree. The magnitude of this activity varies in time, reflecting the interaction of concepts represented by the network's nodes.
The second feature of Amosov school research concerns the introduction of the notion of a specific system for reinforcement and inhibition (SRI) to scientific use. This system is an integral neural network attribute, and in network functioning it plays a role comparable to that of functions of attention in the thought processes. The idea of SRI is entirely original. Using this system allows to introduce a direction component into neural network information processing, and, what is very important, to use value characteristics of information in organizing this processing.
The presence of variable activity of all network's nodes and of SRI control action enables to say that there are two interacting levels of information processing - the subconscious and conscious levels. On the subconscious level occurs a constant interaction and interference of informational concepts represented in the network. In the course of this interaction the activity level of individual network nodes increases to such extent that they are "perceived" - they become the object of "attention" (SRI), which leads to a radical redistribution of activity of all other nodes. SRI acts according to its own rules, which do not allow any individual concept to stay for long in the attention span. This ensures the "shift" of attention to other concepts, and thus imitates the train of "conscious" thought.
The aforementioned features of the starting hypothesis enabled to obtain, within a short period of time, a whole series of nontrivial results in the field of theoretical research of several complex thought functions and of practical verification of theoretical conclusions through computer modeling. Publication of two monographs marks the time limits of this period. One of these ("Modeling of Thinking and of the Mind") sets the starting positions of the scientific line of research, and the other ("Automata and the Mindful Behaviour") sums up the result of the specific research studies cycle.