My research group has been discussing Artificial Neuron-Glia Networks lately. These algorithms add artificial astrocytes to the traditional Artificial Neural Network scheme, and they may also feature a Genetic Algorithm in lieu of back-propagation. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21526157 for an example.
To better understand the implementation of a neural net, I constructed one that is capable of giving an approximation to sin(x). I relied on intuition that I developed while reading a blog post that a classmate linked me to. I strongly recommend the post if you’re interested in ANNs: http://karpathy.github.io/neuralnets/.
My neural net is available for you to view and modify via GitHub: https://github.com/bbartoldson/examples/blob/master/hacker_ANN/net.py.