Home | John Thornton

John Thornton

BBus, BSc(Hons), PhD(Griffith)

Adjunct Associate Professor
Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems
Griffith University

email: j.thornton@griffith.edu.au

Honorary Reader
Department of Informatics
University of Sussex

Research: My research is in the area of artificial intelligence and I am currently developing machine learning algorithms that model the functioning of minicolumns in the neocortex. To further this research I formed the Cognitive Computing Unit in 2011. Our work in the Unit has been particularly inspired by the ideas of Jeff Hawkins, and his emphasis on sequence prediction as the fundamental engine of neocortical function. In this context, I am currently working with my three PhD students, Linda Main, Adam Kneller and Ben Cowley on developing more effective algorithms for Hierarchical Temporal Memory systems. My previous research has mainly concentrated on developing local search techniques for constraint satisfaction, satisfiability and temporal reasoning.

Text Book: In 2007 I published The Foundations of Computing and the Information Technology Age through Pearson Prentice Hall (ISBN 9780733988486). The book develops a new perspective on the development of information technology, placing it within the broader context of the evolution of scientific and technological thinking. After providing an overview of the history of computing (until the end of WWII), the book examines the connections between the development of computer technology and the rationalisation of control that lies behind the phenomenon of modern global civilisation. The text then examines how scientific, technological and computational concepts have come to dominate our understanding of life on earth and develops a broader and more inclusive perspective that once again places the reality of human consciousness at the centre of existence.
For Academic Staff: Order an Instructor's Copy from Pearson Education Australia.
For Students and Members of the Public: Order a Copy Online from the Co-op Bookshop (10% discount for students).