Walter Pitts and Warren McCulloch had a challenging task ahead of them. They wanted to take a first shot at developing the mathematics of the brain. When faced with the unknown, it is natural to try to express it in terms of the known. McCulloch and Pitts knew something about the mathematics of the modern computer. They worked at the time of WWII. It was also the time when the first general-purpose electronic computer, the ENIAC, was built at the University of Pennsylvania. It performed computations a thousand times faster than the electromechanical computers that existed before. Most importantly, it could be programmed. The full power of the logic of computation, the Boolean logic, was at work in ENIAC. Popular media of those days described it as a “giant brain,” referring to its monstrous size.
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