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Explained: Neural Networks

By MIT News

April 18, 2017

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Deep learning is a new name for the neural-networking approach to artificial intelligence, which was first proposed in 1944 by University of Chicago researchers Warren McCullough and Walter Pitts.

The concept has been recurrently rejected and revived, with the latest resurgence in the second decade of the 21st century.

Neural nets are a machine-learning method in which a computer is fed examples to analyze to train itself to perform a task. The original neural net was assigned thresholds and weights, and McCullough and Pitts demonstrated a neural net could, in principle, compute any function possible by a digital computer.

By the 1980s, scientists had developed algorithms for altering neural nets' weights and thresholds that were efficient enough for multilayered networks, revitalizing the field after decades of dismissal.

The latest renaissance in neural networking via deep learning stems from the computer-game industry, which requires many-core graphics-processing unit chips.

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