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By analysing MRI images of the brain with an elegant mathematical model, it is possible to reconstruct thoughts more accurately than ever before. In this way, researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen have succeeded in determining which letter a test subject was looking at.
The end of author pseudo-names. Computer programme unveils JK Rowling as true author of The Cuckoo’s Calling.
So what habits give authors away? One of the analyzers, Patrick Juola of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, has written a detailed blog post about how his program works. The full post is a great read, but here are the highlights.
Basically, Juola got a digital copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling, plus digital copies of novels by Rowling and three well-known authors of mystery novels. He then ran a series of analyses that told him which of the authors the habits in The Cuckoo’s Calling matched best. Each analysis looked at a different “habit” in the books:
Juola’s overall analysis isn’t able to prove authorship, he said. Some of the individual tests found authors other than Rowling were the best match. Nevertheless, Rowling came up the most consistently. Juola called his work “suggestive” or “indicative” that Rowling wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling. The smoking gun came from Rowling’s confession, which Juola’s analysis surely helped convince her to give.
The distinction matters because linguists use tools like Juola’s and others’ to determine who actually wrote everything from historical texts by long-dead authors to contested documents in modern court cases. In those cases, it can be a lot harder to get a ready, reliable confession.
So It Begins: Darpa Sets Out to Make Computers That Can Teach Themselves
Machine learning is how a computer (yellow) carries out a new task (red). The program adds its prior training (green), makes predictions, and completes the task. The result: the machine gets smarter. Illustration: Darpa
Spinnaker, an ambitious project at the University of Manchester (UK), is to build a one-billion-neuron computer from microchips. The idea is to create a supercomputer that works just like the human brain using the same ARM chips that power most smartphones. The team wants to do parallel simulation of large-scale neural networks using the equivalent of 1 per cent of the human brain’s neuron count. They are well on their way: using chips that model 1000 neurons each, their system has created the equivalent of 750,000 neurons. “We’re advancing slowly but steadily,” says project leader Steve Furber.
June 23rd was the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, father of computer science and artificial intelligence, who committed suicide just shy of 42. (Kings College, University of Cambridge).
View a short video bio here.