Yoshua Bengio

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Deep Learning and Cognition

Neural networks and deep learning have been inspired by brains, neuroscience and cognition, from the very beginning, starting with distributed representations, neural computation, and the hierarchy of learned features. More recently, it has been for example with the use of rectifying non-linearities (ReLU) - which enables training deeper networks - as well as the use of soft content-based attention - which allow neural nets to go beyond vectors and to process a variety of data structures and led to a breakthrough in machine translation. Ongoing research is now suggesting that brains may use a process similar to backpropagation for estimating gradients and new inspiration from cognition suggests how to learn deep representations which disentangle the underlying factors of variation, by allowing agents to intervene in their environment and explore how to control some of its elements.

Yoshua Bengio is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and a pioneer in deep learning. Since 1993, he has been a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operational Research at the Université de Montréal. Holder of the Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, he is also the founder and scientific director of Mila, the Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence, which is the world’s largest university-based research group in deep learning. His research contributions have been undeniable. In 2018, Yoshua Bengio collected the largest number of new citations in the world for a computer scientist thanks to his many publications. The following year, he earned the prestigious Killam Prize in computer science from the Canada Council for the Arts and was co-winner of the A.M. Turing Prize, which he received jointly with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun. Concerned about the social impact of AI, he actively contributed to the development of the Montreal Declaration for the Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence.

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