New algorithm lets machines learn like humans

Scientists have created a new algorithm that captures human-like learning abilities. The algorithm enables computers to recognize and draw simple handwritten characters after exposure to just a few examples. Their work, summarized in an article published Thursday in the journal Science, represents a major advancement in the field of machine learning. The new algorithm, called “Bayesian Program Learning,” attempts to mimic the way humans learn new concepts. When humans are exposed to a new concept – say a new symbol or object– they can often recognize and understand the new concept after being exposed to it just a few times. During a teleconference, U of T assistant computer science professor and article co-author Ruslan Salakhutdinov, gave the example of thumbs-up or high-five gestures that humans can recognize and perform as…


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