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Advances in Artificial Intelligence
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 478107, 9 pages
Review Article

Investigating the Underlying Intelligence Mechanisms of the Biological Olfactory System

Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University, 2-1-1 Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan

Received 8 September 2009; Revised 11 November 2009; Accepted 9 December 2009

Academic Editor: Naoyuki Sato

Copyright © 2010 Yoshinari Makino and Masafumi Yano. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The brain is the center of intelligence that biological systems have acquired during their evolutionary history. In unpredictably changing environments, animals use it to recognize the external world and to make appropriate behavioral decisions. Understanding the mechanisms underlying biological intelligence is important for the development of artificial intelligence. Olfaction is one of the sensory modalities that animals use to locate distant objects. Because of its relative simplicity compared with other sensory modalities and the wealth of knowledge at cellular, network, system, and psychophysical levels, it is possible that the biological olfactory system would be understood comprehensively. This paper reviews our biological and computational works with a focus on the temporal aspects of olfactory information processing. In addition, the paper highlights that the “time” dimension is essential for the functioning of the olfactory information processing system in the real world.