At the last meeting, common mis-understandings about NEF/SPA/Nengo were discussed. Would it be a good idea to compile common mis-understandings in a public facing thread we could link to? I emailed @chris and he recommended the following:
The NEF does not allow biological detail
Origin: Markram says “It’s not a brain model”. Using LIF neurons most of the time.
Dispelling: 4 different neuron models in original book. Models with neurons with different dynamics. Extensions to neurons with spatial structure? Note the Dale’s principle transform.
The NEF ultimately demonstrates that neurons are not relevant for behavior
The NEF results in ‘hand coded’ models and ignores learning
I can start with the one I remember from the meeting.
The NEF requires millions of neurons
There are many useful functions performable by the NEF with hundreds or thousands of neurons. The Adaptive Arm Controller uses almost a thousand neurons . The more neurons you use, the more accurate of a representation you get, as described in the NEF book, but generally a functioning representation is somewhere between hundreds and a thousand neurons. Spaun does use a lot of neurons, but only because it is a collection of so many different systems.