Arun Waves

July 27, 2016

Neural Networks – scary good :-)

For the last year or so, there has been a steady increase in chatter about Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Neural Network when it comes to anything online. After a brief stint with Fuzzy Logic during my undergrad, I never got an opportunity to dig into this topic further, other than keeping myself up to date with current events or milestones like the advent of IBM Watson (Jeopardy), Siri/language processing, self driving cars/various DARPA challenges, DeepBlue (chess), DeepMind (AlphaGo) etc. Almost by serendipity, I stumbled onto a Coursera course, Machine Learning by Andrew Ng (of Standford/DeepMind/Baidu fame) and found that my maths skills from my PhD in Quantum Mechanics fits right into this magical world of Neural Networks and Machine Learning. Cool, I dove right into the ocean of Deep Learning, layers,  gradients, features etc 🙂

Here is a ‘small’ result from the coding exercises of Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course in Coursera. The task is to code a system that can recognize hand written single digit numbers and I am elated to report that Neural Networks is ‘scary good’ at it. What does ‘scary good’ mean? I did not have to explicitly code how numbers look, meaning I need not know Arabic numerals at all to develop a system that can recognize it from a non-standard medium (hand scribbled). Check out the results in GIF format below (Note: Yann LeCun’s LeNet5 has done this and more, way back in 1998);

Neural Network



  1. Machine learning is extremely advanced now. I have some experience working with deep neural networks and the things it can do , for example identifying objects in an image or finding tumors in medical images are just fascinating. Things that humans could do, Machines are doing it much faster. I agree that its scary good, but there is definitely a lot of improvements required.

    I work mostly in the field of computer vision and this particular field is doing extremely well. Thanks to Universities for their research and Google for their open source projects.

    Comment by akshay pai — August 11, 2016 @ 7:57 am | Reply

  2. […] a serious interest in the field of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence especially the Neural Network part which leads to Deep Learning. Well, the nocturnal brain in its calm and meditative state, made […]

    Pingback by Indus Valley Civilization – The Script | Arun Waves — January 18, 2017 @ 12:49 am | Reply

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