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Math Digest

Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Location Neurons Do Advanced Math," by Laura Helmuth. Science,13 April 2001.

Barn owls, who hunt in the dark, have a precise way of locating preyby sound. This article---the cover story for this issue---reports on research that confirms that barn owls' auditory neurons, instead ofperforming like OR-gates (using addition), actually perform like AND-gates,that is, they "multiply." This "multiplication" makes such a neuron "morelike a little processor; computationally it's much more powerful [thana neuron that adds]," according to Christof Koch of Caltech. The full articlereferred to by Helmuth, written by José Luis Peña and MasakazuKonishi, is on page 249 of the same issue.

--- Mike Breen