Eye on A.I.— Celebrating the Godfathers of Deep Learning

Artificial intelligence’s growing importance, in both business and research, is largely because of Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun—otherwise known as the “godfathers of deep learning.”

Last week, the trio won the annual Turing Award, the technology world’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize, presented by the Association for Computing Machinery. Their research has led to huge breakthroughs in computers translating languages and identifying objects and people in photographs.

At the heart of the men’s research are neural networks, the software created decades ago to mimic how the human brain learns. The technology plays a huge role in artificial intelligence and its close cousin, deep learning.

The analogy of neural networks being like the human brain is something many A.I. researchers and neuroscientists loathe because it oversimplifies an extremely complicated process. “That’s okay,” Bengio, a University of Montreal computer science professor and co-founder of enterprise startup Element AI, said in an interview with Fortune a day before his Turing Award was publicly announced.

For years, the A.I. community ignored neural networks in favor of other techniques that are more closely related to conventional computer programming. But more advanced computer chips and access to Internet data supercharged the power of neural networks, which could now be fed enormous amounts of information so they could identify patterns and, thereby, learn. ..Read More..

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