Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sarah Marzen

Reader 2

Adam Landsberg


The question of whether biological systems are poised at criticality has been a topic of investigation in recent decades. There is evidence to suggest that many biological systems, such as neural networks, amino acids, and flocks of birds operate around the critical point. Criticality is a phase transition point between order and chaos where information processing, in- formation capacity. There is also evidence to suggest that computation is maximized at criticality. In this thesis, we use heat capacity to show that artificial neural networks designed to classify MNIST digits of handwritten numbers are poised at criticality.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.