Pentti Kanerva is a research affiliate at the Redwood Neuroscience Institute, and is the author of sparse distributed memory. He is responsible for relating the properties of long-term memory to mathematical properties of high-dimensional spaces and compares artificial neural-net associative memory to conventional computer random-access memory and to the neurons in the brain.
Kanerva has an A.A. from Warren Wilson College, M.S. in forestry, with a minor in mathematics and statistics from the University of Helsinki, and has a Ph.D. in Philosophy, from Stanford University.
After earning his Ph.D. at Stanford in 1984, Kanerva moved to work at the NASA Ames Research Center. He also worked at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, then finally moving on to his current position at the Redwood Neuroscience Institute located in Berkeley.