Associative Memory

  • Hermann Haken
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN, volume 50)


A simple example of an associative memory is a telephone dictionary. When we look up a name, we can read off the telephone number belonging to that person. When we use the telephone dictionary, we do this in sequential order. We first look for the first letter of the family name, then for the second letter, etc., and finally we must also, in general, look for the first name. Another example is provided by the identification of a smell, e.g. the smell belonging to a rose. In such a case, on perceiving the smell we immediately associate it with a picture of a rose. A further example might be the face of a person known to us. In such a case we associate a name with this face. In a more formal manner, we may characterize the property of an associative memory as follows: Let a set of data, which we symbolize by x and y, be given. We then wish to find a rule or a procedure by which the set of data is complemented:
$$\left( {x,y,} \right) \Rightarrow \left( {x,y,z} \right)$$

Bibliography and Comments

  1. T. Kohonen: Associative Memory and Self-Organization, 2nd ed. (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 1987), where many further references may also be foundGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermann Haken
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische Physik und SynergetikUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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