Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Neural network


The primate visual system achieves remarkable visual object recognition performance even in brief presentations, and under changes to object exemplar, geometric transformations, and background variation (a.k.a. core visual object recognition). This remarkable performance is mediated by the representation formed in inferior temporal (IT) cortex. In parallel, recent advances in machine learning have led to ever higher performing models of object recognition using artificial deep neural networks (DNNs). It remains unclear, however, whether the representational performance of DNNs rivals that of the brain. To accurately produce such a comparison, a major difficulty has been a unifying metric that accounts for experimental limitations, such as the amount of noise, the number of neural recording sites, and the number of trials, and computational limitations, such as the complexity of the decoding classifier and the number of classifier training examples. In this work, we perform a direct comparison that corrects for these experimental limitations and computational considerations. As part of our methodology, we propose an extension of “kernel analysis” that measures the generalization accuracy as a function of representational complexity. Our evaluations show that, unlike previous bio-inspired models, the latest DNNs rival the representational performance of IT cortex on this visual object recognition task. Furthermore, we show that models that perform well on measures of representational performance also perform well on measures of representational similarity to IT, and on measures of predicting individual IT multi-unit responses. Whether these DNNs rely on computational mechanisms similar to the primate visual system is yet to be determined, but, unlike all previous bio-inspired models, that possibility cannot be ruled out merely on representational performance grounds.

Concepts: Visual system, Performance, Thalamus, Neural network, Artificial neural network, Nervous system, Artificial intelligence, Brain


Artificial neural network (ANN)-based bone scan index (BSI), a marker of the amount of bone metastasis, has been shown to enhance diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility but is potentially affected by training databases. The aims of this study were to revise the software using a large number of Japanese databases and to validate its diagnostic accuracy compared with the original Swedish training database.

Concepts: Connectionism, Artificial intelligence, Artificial neural network, Application software, Database, Computer software, Neural network


Substantial evidence has shown that most exogenous substances are metabolized by multiple cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes instead of by merely one P450 isoform. Thus, multi-P450 inhibition leads to greater drug-drug interaction risk than specific P450 inhibition. Herein, we innovatively established an artificial neural network cascade (NNC) model composed of 23 cascaded networks in a ladder-like framework to identify potential multi-P450 inhibitors among natural compounds by integrating 12 molecular descriptors into a P450 inhibition score (PIS). Experimental data reporting in vitro inhibition of five P450 isoforms (CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4) were obtained for 8,148 compounds from the Cytochrome P450 Inhibitors Database (CPID). The results indicate significant positive correlation between the PIS values and the number of inhibited P450 isoforms (Spearman’s ρ = 0.684, p < 0.0001). Thus, a higher PIS indicates a greater possibility for a chemical to inhibit the enzyme activity of at least three P450 isoforms. Ten-fold cross-validation of the NNC model suggested an accuracy of 78.7% for identifying whether a compound is a multi-P450 inhibitor or not. Using our NNC model, 22.2% of the approximately 160,000 natural compounds in TCM Database@Taiwan were identified as potential multi-P450 inhibitors. Furthermore, chemical similarity calculations suggested that the prevailing parent structures of natural multi-P450 inhibitors were alkaloids. Our findings show that dissection of chemical structure contributes to confident identification of natural multi-P450 inhibitors and provides a feasible method for virtually evaluating multi-P450 inhibition risk for a known structure.

Concepts: Neural network, Identification, Enzyme, CYP3A4, Inhibitor, Chemical compound, Enzyme inhibitor, Cytochrome P450


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and alimentary lymphoma (ALA) are common gastrointestinal diseases in cats. The very similar clinical signs and histopathologic features of these diseases make the distinction between them diagnostically challenging. We tested the use of supervised machine-learning algorithms to differentiate between the 2 diseases using data generated from noninvasive diagnostic tests. Three prediction models were developed using 3 machine-learning algorithms: naive Bayes, decision trees, and artificial neural networks. The models were trained and tested on data from complete blood count (CBC) and serum chemistry (SC) results for the following 3 groups of client-owned cats: normal, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or alimentary lymphoma (ALA). Naive Bayes and artificial neural networks achieved higher classification accuracy (sensitivities of 70.8% and 69.2%, respectively) than the decision tree algorithm (63%, p < 0.0001). The areas under the receiver-operating characteristic curve for classifying cases into the 3 categories was 83% by naive Bayes, 79% by decision tree, and 82% by artificial neural networks. Prediction models using machine learning provided a method for distinguishing between ALA-IBD, ALA-normal, and IBD-normal. The naive Bayes and artificial neural networks classifiers used 10 and 4 of the CBC and SC variables, respectively, to outperform the C4.5 decision tree, which used 5 CBC and SC variables in classifying cats into the 3 classes. These models can provide another noninvasive diagnostic tool to assist clinicians with differentiating between IBD and ALA, and between diseased and nondiseased cats.

Concepts: Gastroenterology, Artificial intelligence, Decision tree, Neural network, Supervised learning, Inflammatory bowel disease, Decision tree learning, Machine learning


The ability to learn tasks in a sequential fashion is crucial to the development of artificial intelligence. Until now neural networks have not been capable of this and it has been widely thought that catastrophic forgetting is an inevitable feature of connectionist models. We show that it is possible to overcome this limitation and train networks that can maintain expertise on tasks that they have not experienced for a long time. Our approach remembers old tasks by selectively slowing down learning on the weights important for those tasks. We demonstrate our approach is scalable and effective by solving a set of classification tasks based on a hand-written digit dataset and by learning several Atari 2600 games sequentially.

Concepts: Learning, Artificial neural network, Artificial intelligence, Atari 2600, Connectionism, Neural network, Cognitive science, Psychology


A long-standing goal of artificial intelligence is an algorithm that learns, tabula rasa, superhuman proficiency in challenging domains. Recently, AlphaGo became the first program to defeat a world champion in the game of Go. The tree search in AlphaGo evaluated positions and selected moves using deep neural networks. These neural networks were trained by supervised learning from human expert moves, and by reinforcement learning from self-play. Here we introduce an algorithm based solely on reinforcement learning, without human data, guidance or domain knowledge beyond game rules. AlphaGo becomes its own teacher: a neural network is trained to predict AlphaGo’s own move selections and also the winner of AlphaGo’s games. This neural network improves the strength of the tree search, resulting in higher quality move selection and stronger self-play in the next iteration. Starting tabula rasa, our new program AlphaGo Zero achieved superhuman performance, winning 100-0 against the previously published, champion-defeating AlphaGo.

Concepts: Learning, Cognitive science, Psychology, Neural network, Artificial intelligence, Artificial neural network, Knowledge, Machine learning


The theory of reinforcement learning provides a normative account, deeply rooted in psychological and neuroscientific perspectives on animal behaviour, of how agents may optimize their control of an environment. To use reinforcement learning successfully in situations approaching real-world complexity, however, agents are confronted with a difficult task: they must derive efficient representations of the environment from high-dimensional sensory inputs, and use these to generalize past experience to new situations. Remarkably, humans and other animals seem to solve this problem through a harmonious combination of reinforcement learning and hierarchical sensory processing systems, the former evidenced by a wealth of neural data revealing notable parallels between the phasic signals emitted by dopaminergic neurons and temporal difference reinforcement learning algorithms. While reinforcement learning agents have achieved some successes in a variety of domains, their applicability has previously been limited to domains in which useful features can be handcrafted, or to domains with fully observed, low-dimensional state spaces. Here we use recent advances in training deep neural networks to develop a novel artificial agent, termed a deep Q-network, that can learn successful policies directly from high-dimensional sensory inputs using end-to-end reinforcement learning. We tested this agent on the challenging domain of classic Atari 2600 games. We demonstrate that the deep Q-network agent, receiving only the pixels and the game score as inputs, was able to surpass the performance of all previous algorithms and achieve a level comparable to that of a professional human games tester across a set of 49 games, using the same algorithm, network architecture and hyperparameters. This work bridges the divide between high-dimensional sensory inputs and actions, resulting in the first artificial agent that is capable of learning to excel at a diverse array of challenging tasks.

Concepts: Learning, Dopamine, Neural network, Psychology, Atari 2600, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Reinforcement learning


Neuromorphic computing promises to markedly improve the efficiency of certain computational tasks, such as perception and decision-making. Although software and specialized hardware implementations of neural networks have made tremendous accomplishments, both implementations are still many orders of magnitude less energy efficient than the human brain. We demonstrate a new form of artificial synapse based on dynamically reconfigurable superconducting Josephson junctions with magnetic nanoclusters in the barrier. The spiking energy per pulse varies with the magnetic configuration, but in our demonstration devices, the spiking energy is always less than 1 aJ. This compares very favorably with the roughly 10 fJ per synaptic event in the human brain. Each artificial synapse is composed of a Si barrier containing Mn nanoclusters with superconducting Nb electrodes. The critical current of each synapse junction, which is analogous to the synaptic weight, can be tuned using input voltage spikes that change the spin alignment of Mn nanoclusters. We demonstrate synaptic weight training with electrical pulses as small as 3 aJ. Further, the Josephson plasma frequencies of the devices, which determine the dynamical time scales, all exceed 100 GHz. These new artificial synapses provide a significant step toward a neuromorphic platform that is faster, more energy-efficient, and thus can attain far greater complexity than has been demonstrated with other technologies.

Concepts: Computational neuroscience, Demonstration, Neural network, Human brain, Volt, Nervous system, Brain, Neuron


Label-free cell analysis is essential to personalized genomics, cancer diagnostics, and drug development as it avoids adverse effects of staining reagents on cellular viability and cell signaling. However, currently available label-free cell assays mostly rely only on a single feature and lack sufficient differentiation. Also, the sample size analyzed by these assays is limited due to their low throughput. Here, we integrate feature extraction and deep learning with high-throughput quantitative imaging enabled by photonic time stretch, achieving record high accuracy in label-free cell classification. Our system captures quantitative optical phase and intensity images and extracts multiple biophysical features of individual cells. These biophysical measurements form a hyperdimensional feature space in which supervised learning is performed for cell classification. We compare various learning algorithms including artificial neural network, support vector machine, logistic regression, and a novel deep learning pipeline, which adopts global optimization of receiver operating characteristics. As a validation of the enhanced sensitivity and specificity of our system, we show classification of white blood T-cells against colon cancer cells, as well as lipid accumulating algal strains for biofuel production. This system opens up a new path to data-driven phenotypic diagnosis and better understanding of the heterogeneous gene expressions in cells.

Concepts: Sensitivity and specificity, Gene, Binary classification, Supervised learning, Gene expression, Neural network, Artificial neural network, Machine learning


Beyond sample curation and basic pathologic characterization, the digitized H&E-stained images of TCGA samples remain underutilized. To highlight this resource, we present mappings of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) based on H&E images from 13 TCGA tumor types. These TIL maps are derived through computational staining using a convolutional neural network trained to classify patches of images. Affinity propagation revealed local spatial structure in TIL patterns and correlation with overall survival. TIL map structural patterns were grouped using standard histopathological parameters. These patterns are enriched in particular T cell subpopulations derived from molecular measures. TIL densities and spatial structure were differentially enriched among tumor types, immune subtypes, and tumor molecular subtypes, implying that spatial infiltrate state could reflect particular tumor cell aberration states. Obtaining spatial lymphocytic patterns linked to the rich genomic characterization of TCGA samples demonstrates one use for the TCGA image archives with insights into the tumor-immune microenvironment.

Concepts: Neural network, Antibody, Geography, Map, Anatomical pathology, Immune system, Pathology, Tumor