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NewAIAlgorithmTaughtbyHumansLearnsBeyondits

Training
November16,2016|UniversityofTorontoFacultyofAppliedScience&Engineering

Photocredit:Pixabay

"HeySiri,how'smyhair?"
Yoursmartphonemaysoonbeabletogiveyouanhonestanswer,thankstoanewmachine
learningalgorithmdesignedbyUofTEngineeringresearchersParhamAarabiandWenzhiGuo.
Theteamdesignedanalgorithmthatlearnsdirectlyfromhumaninstructions,ratherthanan
existingsetofexamples,andoutperformedconventionalmethodsoftrainingneuralnetworksby
160percent.Butmoresurprisingly,theiralgorithmalsooutperformeditsowntrainingbynineper
centitlearnedtorecognizehairinpictureswithgreaterreliabilitythanthatenabledbythe
training,markingasignificantleapforwardforartificialintelligence.
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AarabiandGuotrainedtheiralgorithmtoidentifypeople'shairinphotographsamuchmore
challengingtaskforcomputersthanitisforhumans.
"Ouralgorithmlearnedtocorrectlyclassifydifficult,borderlinecasesdistinguishingthetextureof
hairversusthetextureofthebackground,"saysAarabi."Whatwesawwaslikeateacher
instructingachild,andthechildlearningbeyondwhattheteachertaughtherinitially."
Humans"teach"neuralnetworkscomputernetworksthatlearndynamicallybyprovidingaset
oflabeleddataandaskingtheneuralnetworktomakedecisionsbasedonthesamplesit'sseen.
Forexample,youcouldtrainaneuralnetworktoidentifyskyinaphotographbyshowingit
hundredsofpictureswiththeskylabeled.
Thisalgorithmisdifferent:itlearnsdirectlyfromhumantrainers.Withthismodel,calledheuristic
training,humansprovidedirectinstructionsthatareusedtopreclassifytrainingsamplesrather
thanasetoffixedexamples.Trainersprogramthealgorithmwithguidelinessuchas"Skyislikely
tobevaryingshadesofblue,"and"Pixelsnearthetopoftheimagearemorelikelytobeskythan
pixelsatthebottom."
TheirworkispublishedinthejournalIEEETransactionsonNeuralNetworksandLearning
Systems.
Thisheuristictrainingapproachholdsconsiderablepromiseforaddressingoneofthebiggest
challengesforneuralnetworks:makingcorrectclassificationsofpreviouslyunknownorunlabeled
data.Thisiscrucialforapplyingmachinelearningtonewsituations,suchascorrectlyidentifying
canceroustissuesformedicaldiagnostics,orclassifyingalltheobjectssurroundingand
approachingaselfdrivingcar.
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"Applyingheuristictrainingtohairsegmentationisjustastart,"saysGuo."We'rekeentoapplyour
methodtootherfieldsandarangeofapplications,frommedicinetotransportation."
ThisarticlehasbeenrepublishedfrommaterialsprovidedbyUniversityofTorontoFacultyof
AppliedScience&Engineering.Note:materialmayhavebeeneditedforlengthandcontent.For
furtherinformation,pleasecontactthecitedsource.
Researchpaper:
WenzhangzhiGuo,ParhamAarabi.HairSegmentationUsingHeuristicallyTrainedNeural
Networks.IEEETransactionsonNeuralNetworksandLearningSystems,
2016DOI:10.1109/TNNLS.2016.2614653