Optical resonators, mode competition, and associative memory

The mathematical description of the laser is of a rather universal character that emerges in many fields of science. The same mathematics has been applied to the interaction among neurons forming a network to model brain behavior and cognitive function. That these two systems share a common mathematical heritage leads one to wonder whether one can extract useful brain-like behavior from a laser or a similar nonlinear optical system. Some recent work with holographic optical resonators has been motivated by precisely this notion.

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