Electrophysiological Methods: Physical Techniques in by William L. Nastuk

By William L. Nastuk

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A trace gives a dynamic picture of what is happening during problem execution, whereas a memory dump gives a static picture of the situation at some particular time. A dump is frequently asked for when the computer stops as a result of a programming error or is behaving mysteriously. A dump at this point is often called a post-mortem. The best debugging techniques result from planning the program in a manner which facilitates analysis of the output. In this way, one plans in advance for the almost inevitable errors and provides for sufficient output to enable the programmer to locate the error without trace or dump routines.

In this case, one begins by assuming a set of values for the independent variables. The values of the variables are randomly altered, one at a time. After each alteration, one looks to see if the function is increased (if a maximum is desired) or de­ creased (if a minimum is desired). If the solution is improved, the variation is retained; if the solution is not improved, the variation is discarded and another random change is instituted. One difficulty here is arriving at a value which is a local maximum, but is not the true solution looked for.

In addition to the packing and unpacking of data, and extracting of desired portions of a word which these instructions make possible, it is also feasible to employ symbolic logic or Boolean algebra operations on a mass scale by building up combinations of the fundamental logical operations. In fact, the latest and most powerful Fortran algebraic compiler systems have added Boolean operations to the allowable statements. These operations may have many direct applications in the bio-medical field: for example, there is the diag­ nostic work of Ledley and Lusted (1959), Tanimoto (1960) and others; work in simulation of neural networks; and direct application to certain pattern recognition problems discussed in the next section.

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