Microsoft’s AI “Project Adam” Challenges Google’s Artificial Brain

by Istvan Fekete on July 15, 2014

Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are adopting a powerful form of artificial intelligence, known as ‘deep learning’, with the aim of improving everything from speech recognition and language translation to computer vision, even the ability to identify images without the need of a human eye.

The general consensus is that Google is currently leading the initiative, since it employs the godfather of the deep-learning movement, University of Toronto professor Geoff Hinton. You may recall that we discussed how Android phones were seemingly ahead of the iPhone, but Apple is well underway now, and is preparing a major update for Siri, adopting the new deep learning technology.

However, we must not forget about Microsoft’s efforts. According to Wired, Microsoft’s research arm says it has achieved new records with the deep learning system, called Adam. The company went public with the matter for the first time yesterday during an academic summit.

Deep learning mimics how the human brain works by creating neural networks — systems that behave, in some respects, like the neurons in your brain —typically these neural nets require a large number of servers. What makes Adam different from others however is that it uses a technique called asynchrony.

According to Microsoft, Adam is twice as adept as previous systems at recognizing images—including, say, photos of a particular breed of dog or a type of vegetation—while using 30 times fewer machines (see video below). “Adam is an exploration on how you build the biggest brain,” says Peter Lee, the head of Microsoft Research.

The technique allows a system’s parts to run independently from each other, before merging their calculations into a whole. The manifold problems inherent in this technique were eventually overcome by technology called ’Hogwild!’.

While Microsoft is marketing Adam as a “mind-blowing system”, some deep-learning experts say the way the system is constructed really isn’t that different from Google’s. As we said, this is the first time Microsoft has gone public with Adam, so we’ll see some debate around who’s the best in this area.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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