Jeff Hawkins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jeff Hawkins
Jeff Hawkins by Jeff Kubina.jpeg
Hawkins at eTech 2007
Jeffrey Hawk

Alma materCornell University University of California, Berkeley
Known forCo-founder of Palm and Handspring

Jeffrey Hawkins is a founder of Palm Computing and Handspring where he was one of the creators of the PalmPilot and Treo, respectively.[1]: p.4  He has since turned to work on neuroscience, founding the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience (formerly the Redwood Neuroscience Institute) in 2002 and Numenta in 2005, where he leads a team in efforts to reverse-engineer the neocortex and enable machine intelligence technology based on brain theory.[2] Hawkins is the author of On Intelligence which explains his memory-prediction framework theory of the brain. In March 2021, he released his second book, A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence, which details the discoveries he and the Numenta team made that led to the Thousand Brains Theory of Intelligence. [3]

In 2003, Hawkins was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering "for the creation of the hand-held computing paradigm and the creation of the first commercially successful example of a hand-held computing device." He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Secular Coalition for America where he has advised on the acceptance and inclusion of nontheism in American life.[4]

Early life[edit]

He attended Cornell University, where he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1979.[5]


Hawkins moved to GRiD Systems in 1982, where he developed rapid application development (RAD) software called GRiDtask.[6]

Hawkins' interest in pattern recognition for speech and text input to computers led him to enroll in the biophysics program at the University of California, Berkeley in 1986. While there he patented a "pattern classifier" for handwritten text, but his PhD proposal on developing a theory of the neocortex was rejected, apparently because none of the professors there were working on anything similar. The setback led him back to GRiD, where, as vice president of research from 1988 to 1992, he developed their pen-based computing initiative that in 1989 spawned the GRiDPad, one of the first tablet computers.[7]

Hawkins founded Palm Inc., in January 1992. Hawkins left the company along with Palm co-founders Donna Dubinsky and Ed Colligan to start Handspring.[8][9]

In March 2005, Hawkins, together with Dubinsky (Palm's original CEO) and Dileep George, founded Numenta, Inc.[10]


In 2002, after two decades of finding little interest from neuroscience institutions that he did not have a stake in, Hawkins founded the Redwood Neuroscience Institute in Menlo Park, California.

In 2004, Hawkins published On Intelligence (by Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee), laying a theory on out his "memory-prediction framework" of how the brain works.[10][11]

One area of interest to Hawkins is cortical columns. In 2016, Hawkins hypothesized that cortical columns did not just capture a sensation, but also the relative location of that sensation, in three dimensions rather than two (situated capture), in relation to what was around it. Hawkins explains, "When the brain builds a model of the world, everything has a location relative to everything else".[12]

In 2018, Hawkins proposed The Thousand Brains Theory of Intelligence, a framework for intelligence and cortical computation.[13][unreliable source?]

In 2021, Hawkins published A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence. The book details the advances he and the Numenta team made that led to the ground-breaking discovery of how the brain understands the world and what it means to be intelligent. The book also details how the Thousand Brains Theory can impact the future of machine intelligence and what an understanding of the brain says about the threats and opportunities facing humanity.[14] In summary, it offers a theory of what's missing in current AI.[15]


  • Hawkins, Jeff with Sandra Blakeslee (2004). On Intelligence, Times Books, Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 0-8050-7456-2.
  • Hawkins, Jeff (2021). A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence, Basic Books. ISBN 1-5416-7581-9.


  1. ^ Jeff Hawkins, On Intelligence, p.28
  2. ^ "Amazon Authors Biography". Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  3. ^ "A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins". July 28, 2020. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  4. ^ "Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board Biography". Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  5. ^ Barnett, Shawn. "Jeff Hawkins The man who almost single-handedly revived the handheld computer industry". Pen Computing. Pen Computing. Archived from the original on December 10, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  6. ^ Holwerda, Thom. "Apple's iPad 2: Conservative, Inconsistent, but I'm Loving it – Tablets: a short history (2/2)". OSnews. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  7. ^ Pen Computing Jeff Hawkins 2
  8. ^ Pen Computing Jeff Hawkins 3
  9. ^ New York Times (Oct 14, 2018) Jeff Hawkins is finally ready to explain his brain research
  10. ^ a b Markoff, John (March 24, 2005). "A New Company to Focus on Artificial Intelligence". New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "On Intelligence (Book) by Jeff Hawkins". Numenta. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Cade Metz The New York Times (15 October 2018) "A new view of how we think" pp.B1,B4 see: 'Clarity Over a Coffee Cup'
  13. ^ "The Thousand Brains Theory of Intelligence". Numenta. March 2018. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  14. ^ "A Thousand Brains, a new book by Jeff Hawkins, introduces a novel theory of intelligence with implications for AI and for the future of humanity". March 2, 2021. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  15. ^ Cooley, Brian. "A new way to move artificial intelligence forward". CNET. Retrieved March 22, 2021.

External links[edit]