Nav: Home

Researchers rebuild the bridge between neuroscience and artificial intelligence

April 23, 2020

The origin of machine and deep learning algorithms, which increasingly affect almost all aspects of our life, is the learning mechanism of synaptic (weight) strengths connecting neurons in our brain. Attempting to imitate these brain functions, researchers bridged between neuroscience and artificial intelligence over half a century ago. However, since then experimental neuroscience has not directly advanced the field of machine learning and both disciplines -- neuroscience and machine learning -- seem to have developed independently.

In an article published today in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers reveal that they have successfully rebuilt the bridge between experimental neuroscience and advanced artificial intelligence learning algorithms. Conducting new types of experiments on neuronal cultures, the researchers were able to demonstrate a new accelerated brain-inspired learning mechanism. When the mechanism was utilized on the artificial task of handwritten digit recognition, for instance, its success rates substantially outperformed commonly-used machine learning algorithms.

To rebuild this bridge, the researchers set out to prove two hypotheses: that the common assumption that learning in the brain is extremely slow might be wrong, and that the dynamics of the brain might include accelerated learning mechanisms. Surprisingly, both hypotheses were proven correct.

"A learning step in our brain is believed to typically last tens of minutes or even more, while in a computer it lasts for a nanosecond, or one million times one million faster," said the study's lead author Prof. Ido Kanter, of Bar-Ilan University's Department of Physics and Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center. "Although the brain is extremely slow, its computational capabilities outperform, or are comparable, to typical state-of-the-art artificial intelligence algorithms," added Kanter, who was assisted in the research by Shira Sardi, Dr. Roni Vardi, Yuval Meir, Dr. Amir Goldental, Shiri Hodassman and Yael Tugendfaft.

The team's experiments indicated that adaptation in our brain is significantly accelerated with training frequency. "Learning by observing the same image 10 times in a second is as effective as observing the same image 1,000 times in a month," said Shira Sardi, a main contributor to this work. "Repeating the same image speedily enhances adaptation in our brain to seconds rather than tens of minutes. It is possible that learning in our brain is even faster, but beyond our current experimental limitations," added Dr. Roni Vardi, another main contributor to the research. Utilization of this newly-discovered, brain-inspired accelerated learning mechanism substantially outperforms commonly-used machine learning algorithms, such as handwritten digit recognition, especially where small datasets are provided for training.

The reconstructed bridge from experimental neuroscience to machine learning is expected to advance artificial intelligence and especially ultrafast decision making under limited training examples, similar to many circumstances of human decision making, as well as robotic control and network optimization.
-end-


Bar-Ilan University

Related Neuroscience Articles:

Researchers rebuild the bridge between neuroscience and artificial intelligence
In an article in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers reveal that they have successfully rebuilt the bridge between experimental neuroscience and advanced artificial intelligence learning algorithms.
The evolution of neuroscience as a research
When the first issue of the JDR was published, the field of neuroscience did not exist but over subsequent decades neuroscience has emerged as a scientific field that has particular relevance to dentistry.
Diabetes-Alzheimer's link explored at Neuroscience 2019
Surprising links exist between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, and researchers are beginning to unpack the pathology that connects the two.
Organoid research revealed at Neuroscience 2019
Mini-brains, also called organoids, may offer breakthroughs in clinical research by allowing scientists to study human brain cells without a human subject.
The neuroscience of autism: New clues for how condition begins
UNC School of Medicine scientists found that a gene mutation linked to autism normally works to organize the scaffolding of brain cells called radial progenitors necessary for the orderly formation of the brain.
Harnessing reliability for neuroscience research
Neuroscientists are amassing the large-scale datasets needed to study individual differences and identify biomarkers.
Blue Brain solves a century-old neuroscience problem
In a front-cover paper published in Cerebral Cortex, EPFL's Blue Brain Project, a Swiss Brain Research Initiative, explains how the shapes of neurons can be classified using mathematical methods from the field of algebraic topology.
Characterizing pig hippocampus could improve translational neuroscience
Researchers have taken further steps toward developing a superior animal model of neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, according to a study of miniature pigs published in eNeuro.
The neuroscience of human vocal pitch
Among primates, humans are uniquely able to consciously control the pitch of their voices, making it possible to hit high notes in singing or stress a word in a sentence to convey meaning.
Study tackles neuroscience claims to have disproved 'free will'
For several decades, some researchers have argued that neuroscience studies prove human actions are driven by external stimuli -- that the brain is reactive and free will is an illusion.
More Neuroscience News and Neuroscience Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.