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Rescooped by Margarida Sá Costa from Amazing Science!

Chinese Search Company Baidu Built a Giant Artificial-Intelligence Supercomputer

Chinese Search Company Baidu Built a Giant Artificial-Intelligence Supercomputer | smart cities |

Chinese search giant Baidu says it has invented a powerful supercomputer that brings new muscle to an artificial-intelligence technique giving software more power to understand speech, images, and written language.

The new computer, called Minwa and located in Beijing, has 72 powerful processors and 144 graphics processors, known as GPUs. Late Monday, Baidu released a paper claiming that the computer had been used to train machine-learning software that set a new record for recognizing images, beating a previous mark set by Google.

“Our company is now leading the race in computer intelligence,” said Ren Wu, a Baidu scientist working on the project, speaking at the Embedded Vision Summit on Tuesday. Minwa’s computational power would probably put it among the 300 most powerful computers in the world if it weren’t specialized for deep learning, said Wu. “I think this is the fastest supercomputer dedicated to deep learning,” he said. “We have great power in our hands—much greater than our competitors.”

Computing power matters in the world of deep learning, which has produced breakthroughs in speech, image, and face recognition and improved the image-search and speech-recognition services offered by Google and Baidu.

The technique is a souped-up version of an approach first established decades ago, in which data is processed by a network of artificial neurons that manage information in ways loosely inspired by biological brains. Deep learning involves using larger neural networks than before, arranged in hierarchical layers, and training them with significantly larger collections of data, such as photos, text documents, or recorded speech.

So far, bigger data sets and networks appear to always be better for this technology, said Wu. That’s one way it differs from previous machine-learning techniques, which had begun to produce diminishing returns with larger data sets. “Once you scaled your data beyond a certain point, you couldn’t see any improvement,” said Wu. “With deep learning, it just keeps going up.” Baidu says that Minwa makes it practical to create an artificial neural network with hundreds of billions of connections—hundreds of times more than any network built before.


A paper released Monday is intended to provide a taste of what Minwa’s extra oomph can do. It describes how the supercomputer was used to train a neural network that set a new record on a standard benchmark for image-recognition software. The ImageNet Classification Challenge, as it is called, involves training software on a collection of 1.5 million labeled images in 1,000 different categories, and then asking that software to use what it learned to label 100,000 images it has not seen before.

Software is compared on the basis of how often its top five guesses for a given image miss the correct answer. The system trained on Baidu’s new computer was wrong only 4.58 percent of the time. The previous best was 4.82 percent, reported by Google in March. One month before that, Microsoft had reported achieving 4.94 percent, becoming the first to better average human performance of 5.1 percent.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, May 15, 2015 11:57 AM

Question: What IS intelligence?

I guess we're still mistaken about this elusive term so many use on a daily basis—either to degrade or upgrade your status as a human being–without really knowing what it is. Now we're going to have "stupid" 'puters vs. "intelligent" ones. Ah, yet the question remains: Psychopaths, those "snakes in suits" in high places, they are intelligent, aren't they? Yes, of course! Otherwise they wouldn't have been able to get where they are (high places). Empathy is clearly not part of the equation.

Rescooped by Margarida Sá Costa from Amazing Science!

Quantum physics enables perfectly secure cloud computing

Quantum physics enables perfectly secure cloud computing | smart cities |
Researchers have succeeded in combining the power of quantum computing with the security of quantum cryptography and have shown that perfectly secure cloud computing can be achieved using the principles of quantum mechanics.

Via Annie Infinite, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Margarida Sá Costa from Technologeek!

The Evolution of Gadgets

The Evolution of Gadgets | smart cities |

All those devices (circa 1990) now in your pocket.

Via Nicko Gibson
Margarida Sá Costa's insight:

good to know!

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