- Mar 2019
Which got McCulloch thinking about neurons. He knew that each of the brain’s nerve cells only fires after a minimum threshold has been reached: Enough of its neighboring nerve cells must send signals across the neuron’s synapses before it will fire off its own electrical spike. It occurred to McCulloch that this set-up was binary—either the neuron fires or it doesn’t. A neuron’s signal, he realized, is a proposition, and neurons seemed to work like logic gates, taking in multiple inputs and producing a single output. By varying a neuron’s firing threshold, it could be made to perform “and,” “or,” and “not” functions.
I'm curious what year this was, particularly in relation to Claude Shannon's master's thesis in which he applied Boolean algebra to electronics.
Based on their meeting date, it would have to be after 1940. And they published in 1943: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02478259
McCulloch and Pitts wrote up their findings in a now-seminal paper, “A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity,” published in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics.
reference at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02478259