Biological Neural Network (BNN) to Artificial Neural Network (ANN)

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Biological Neural Network (BNN) to Artificial Neural Network (ANN)

Can you name three invention inspired by the nature?

My answer will be airplanes, submarines, and swim fins. Airplanes were inspired from birds which can fly across the land, submarines were inspired from whales which can stay for a long period of time underwater while swim fins were inspired by how frogs and ducks propel its feet through water.

Photo by Mehdi Sepehri on Unsplash

Today, we can find Artificial Intelligence (AI) everywhere, from recommending videos to watch (Youtube) to translating words (Google Translate). Now, let’s discuss a part of AI study which has been contributing to the development of technology since decades ago, an Artificial Neural Network. Artificial Neural Network was first introduced by Warren McCulloch (a neurophysiologist) and Walter Pitts (a mathematician) in 1943. Artificial Neural Network itself was inspired by neuron and its network in our brain.

Biological Neurons

Biological Neuron is a cell which can be found in brain. Brain — the main control unit which allows living creatures to have an ability to adapt to a changing environment and the ability to learn — consists of a very large number of neurons. In biology, a neuron is a cell that carries messages (impulses) in nervous system.

Simplified Structure of a Neuron

How BNN works

In brief, dendrites receive impulses from other cells and axons transmit it to the other cells or the other dendrites. When the impulse reach the synaptic terminals (sometimes known as axon terminals), the axon will release neurotransmitter — a chemical substance to bind the dendrite membrane of the receiving neuron. A synaptic terminals do not attach directly to another dendrite. There is a gap called synaptic cleft and thanks to neurotransmitter, the impulse can be passed from one neuron to the others.

Each neuron connected to thousands of other neurons — form a neural network. This neural network, known as Biological Neural Networks (BNN), seems to have an organized consecutive layers of neurons in the outer layer of the brain.