Michael A. Arbib

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Michael A. Arbib (born 28 May 1940 in England) is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science, as well as a Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Southern California (USC). As both a theoretical neuroscientist and a computer scientist, Arbib argues that by deducing the brain's operating principles from a computational standpoint we can both learn more about how brains function and also gain tools for building learning machines. Arbib is a prolific author and has written or edited over 30 books and many scientific research articles. His work has been extremely influential in shaping the field of computational neuroscience.

Arbib was educated in New Zealand and at The Scots College in Sydney, Australia, Captain of Debating (in a team coached Tony Rae, later Headmaster of Newington College), Royal Empire Society Public Speaking Competition Champion, Editor, The Scotsman, and a Prefect in the same year as leading Australians Ken Catchpole (Rugby) & Tony Coote (Business). In 1957, he was Co-Dux of the College (with M. M. Lawrie and C. J . Magarey), and winner of the Barker Prize for coming first in the State in Mathematics. In 1960 he took a BSc (Hons) at the University of Sydney, with the University Medal in Pure Mathematics.

Arbib received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963. He was advised by Norbert Wiener, the founder of cybernetics, and Henry P. McKean, Jr. As a student, he also worked with Warren McCulloch, the co-inventor of the artificial neural network and finite-state machine. After a brief postdoc with Rudolf Kalman, Arbib spent five years as an assistant professor at Stanford, before becoming the founding chairman of the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1970. He remained in the Department until 1986, when he joined the University of Southern California.

With Richard Didday, he developed one of the first winner-take-all neural networks in 1970. More recently, with Giacomo Rizzolatti, the leader of research team that discovered mirror neurons, he proposed an evolutionary link between mirror neurons, imitation, and the evolution of language.

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • Brains, Machines and Mathematics (1964, 1987) ISBN 0-387-96539-4
  • Algebraic Theory of Machines, Languages and Semigroups (January, 1968) ISBN 0-12-059050-6
  • The metaphorical brain (Wiley, 1972) ISBN 0-471-03249-2
  • System theory. A unified state-space approach (Saunders, 1974) by Louis Padulo, Michael A. Arbib
  • Computers and the Cybernetic Society (1984)
  • In Search of the Person: Philosophical Explorations in Cognitive Science (November 1, 1985)
  • Algebraic Approaches to Program Semantics (Texts and Monographs in Computer Science) by Ernest G. Manes, Michael A. Arbib (August 1, 1986)
  • The Construction of Reality (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy) by Michael A. Arbib, Mary B. Hesse (November 28, 1986)
  • Brains, Machines and Mathematics 2nd ed. by Michael A. Arbib (November 1, 1987)
  • Dynamic Interactions in Neural Networks: Models and Data (Research Notes in Neural Computing) by Michael A. Arbib, Shun-Ichi Amari (January 1, 1989)
  • Vision, Brain, and Cooperative Computation by Michael A. Arbib (Editor), Allen R. Hanson (Editor) (January 24, 1990)
  • Natural and Artificial Parallel Computation by Michael A. Arbib (Editor), J. Alan Robinson (Editor) (Hardcover - December 21, 1990)
  • Neuroscience: From Neural Networks to Artificial Intelligence : Proceedings of a U.S.-Mexico Seminar Held in the City of Xalapa in the State of Verac (Lecture Notes in Mathematics) by Pablo Rudomin, et al. (June 1, 1993)
  • Neural Organization: Structure, Function, and Dynamics by Michael A. Arbib, Péter Érdi and János Szentágothai et al. (October 31, 1997)
  • Neuroscience and the Person: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action Series) by Robert J. Russell, et al. (January 1, 2000)
  • Computing the Brain: A Guide to Neuroinformatics by Michael Arbib, Jeffrey S. Grethe (March 15, 2001)
  • The Neural Simulation Language: A System for Brain Modeling by Alfredo Weitzenfeld, et al. (July 1, 2002)
  • The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks: 2nd Edition by Michael A. Arbib (Editor) (November 15, 2002)
  • Who Needs Emotions: The Brain Meets the Robot (Series in Affective Science) by Jean-Marc Fellous, et al. (October 28, 2004)
  • Beyond the Mirror: Biology and Culture in the Evolution of Brain and Language (June 2005) ISBN 0-19-514993-9
  • Visual Structures and Integrated Functions (Research Notes in Neural Computing, No 3) by Michael A. Arbib, Jorg-Peter Ewert
  • Visuomotor Coordination: Amphibians, Comparisons, Models, and Robots by Jorg Peter Ewert, Michael A. Arbib
  • The Metaphorical Brain 2: Neural Networks and Beyond by Michael B. Arbib
  • Introduction to Formal Language Theory (Texts and Monographs in Computer Science) by Robert N. Moll, et al.
  • From Schema Theory to Language by Michael A. Arbib, et al.
  • Adaptive Control of Ill-Defined Systems (Nato Conference Series. II, Systems Science, V. 16) by NATO Advanced Research Institute on Adaptive Control of Ill-Defined systems
  • Programming Approach to Computability (The Akm Series in Theoretical Computer Science) by A. J. Kfoury, et al.
  • Neural Models of Language Processes (Perspectives in neurolinguistics, neuropsychology, and psycholinguistics)
  • A Basis for Theoretical Computer Science (Springer Series in Statistics) by Michael A. Arbib
  • Arrows, Structures, and Functors: The Categorical Imperative
  • Theories of abstract automata (Prentice-Hall series in automatic computation)
  • How the Brain Got Language: The Mirror System Hypothesis (Oxford University Press USA)

External links[edit]