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Blog / Machine Learning, Machine Learning Explained / Deep Learning: Machine Learning Explained

Deep Learning: Machine Learning Explained

Jan. 24, 2024
12 min
Nathan Robinson
Nathan Robinson
Product Owner
Nathan is a product leader with proven success in defining and building B2B, B2C, and B2B2C mobile, web, and wearable products. These products are used by millions and available in numerous languages and countries. Following his time at IBM Watson, he 's focused on developing products that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, earning accolades such as Forbes' Tech to Watch and TechCrunch's Top AI Products.

Deep learning is a machine learning technique that teaches computers to do what comes naturally to humans: learn by example. Deep learning is a key technology behind driverless cars, enabling them to recognize a stop sign or to distinguish a pedestrian from a lamppost. It is the key to voice control in consumer devices like phones, tablets, TVs, and hands-free speakers. In this article, we will delve into the intricate details of deep learning, its applications, and its importance in the field of machine learning.

Understanding Deep Learning

Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning that focuses on algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the brain, which are called artificial neural networks. It is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building, using a neural network with many layers. These layers are the ‘deep’ part of deep learning, and they consist of nodes, with each layer using the output of the previous layer as its input.

Deep learning models are built using large sets of labeled data and neural network architectures that learn features directly from the data without the need for manual feature extraction. One of the most popular types of deep neural networks is known as convolutional neural networks (CNN or ConvNet). A CNN convolves learned features with input data, and uses 2D convolutional layers, making this architecture well suited to processing 2D data, such as images.

Deep Learning vs. Machine Learning

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning, where neural networks — algorithms inspired by the human brain — learn from large amounts of data. While a neural network with a single layer can still make approximate predictions, additional hidden layers can help optimize the results.

Deep learning drives many artificial intelligence (AI) applications and services that improve automation, performing analytical and physical tasks without human intervention. This technology is essential in autonomous vehicles for object recognition and decision-making capabilities.

How Deep Learning Works

Deep learning algorithms use a method called neural networks with many layers. A neural network takes in inputs, which are then processed in hidden layers using weights that are adjusted during training. Then the model spits out a prediction. The weights are adjusted to find patterns in order to optimize the outputs.

The ‘deep’ in deep learning refers to the depth of the network. An artificial neural network can be as shallow as one layer, or it can be as deep as hundreds of layers. The depth of the model is what allows deep learning to process more complex patterns than other machine learning techniques.

Applications of Deep Learning

Deep learning applications are used in industries from automated driving to medical devices. Automated Driving: Automotive researchers are using deep learning to automatically detect objects such as stop signs and traffic lights. In addition, deep learning is used to detect pedestrians, which is a critical aspect of autonomous driving.

Deep learning is also used in the field of medicine. Medical researchers are using deep learning to automatically detect cancer cells. Teams at UCLA built an advanced microscope that yields a high-dimensional data set used to train a deep learning application to accurately identify cancer cells.

Deep Learning in Natural Language Processing

Deep learning is used in the natural language processing (NLP) tasks of speech recognition, text generation, and machine translation, among others. It is also used in the creation of chatbots and personal assistants, which are capable of understanding and responding to human language in a more natural and intuitive way.

Deep learning models are able to process and understand human language by converting words into vectors, which can then be processed in a similar way to numerical data. This allows the models to understand the semantic meaning of words, and to understand the context in which they are used.

Deep Learning in Image & Video Processing

Deep learning is also used extensively in image and video processing. This includes applications such as facial recognition, object detection, and image enhancement. Deep learning algorithms are able to process images and videos in a way that is far more advanced than traditional image processing techniques.

For example, deep learning can be used to automatically remove noise from images, or to enhance the quality of low-resolution images. It can also be used to detect and recognize faces in images and videos, which is a critical component of many security systems.

Deep Learning Models & Algorithms

There are several types of deep learning models and algorithms that are commonly used in the field of machine learning. These include Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs), and Deep Belief Networks (DBNs), among others.

Each of these models and algorithms has its own strengths and weaknesses, and is suited to different types of tasks. For example, CNNs are particularly good at processing images, while RNNs are often used for sequence prediction tasks, such as predicting the next word in a sentence.

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs)

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are deep learning algorithms that are particularly powerful for processing images. CNNs are composed of one or more convolutional layers, followed by one or more fully connected layers. The convolutional layers are used to detect features in the input images, while the fully connected layers are used to classify the images based on these features.

The key advantage of CNNs is that they are able to automatically learn and extract features from images, without the need for manual feature extraction. This makes them highly effective for tasks such as image classification, object detection, and facial recognition.

Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs)

Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) are deep learning algorithms that are designed to process sequential data. Unlike other neural networks, which process inputs independently, RNNs have a form of memory that allows them to take into account previous inputs in their predictions.

This makes RNNs particularly suited to tasks such as time series prediction, natural language processing, and speech recognition. However, RNNs can be difficult to train effectively, due to problems such as vanishing and exploding gradients.

Challenges & Limitations of Deep Learning

While deep learning has been highly successful in a wide range of applications, it also has a number of challenges and limitations. One of the main challenges is the need for large amounts of labeled data. Deep learning algorithms typically require tens of thousands or even millions of examples to learn effectively.

Another challenge is the computational requirements. Deep learning algorithms are computationally intensive, and typically require powerful hardware, such as graphics processing units (GPUs), to train effectively. This can make deep learning expensive and inaccessible for smaller organizations or individuals.

Overfitting & Underfitting

Overfitting is a common problem in machine learning, and it occurs when a model learns the training data too well. In this case, the model will perform well on the training data, but it will not generalize well to new, unseen data. This is often a result of the model being too complex, with too many parameters relative to the number of observations.

Underfitting, on the other hand, occurs when a model is too simple to capture the underlying structure of the data. In this case, the model will perform poorly on both the training data and new, unseen data. Both overfitting and underfitting can be mitigated by using techniques such as regularization and cross-validation.

Interpretability & Transparency

One of the main criticisms of deep learning is that it lacks interpretability and transparency. Deep learning models are often described as “black boxes”, because it is difficult to understand how they make their predictions. This can be a problem in fields such as healthcare and finance, where it is important to understand why a model made a particular prediction.

Efforts are being made to improve the interpretability and transparency of deep learning models, through techniques such as feature visualization and attention mechanisms. However, this remains a significant challenge in the field of deep learning.

Future of Deep Learning

The future of deep learning is incredibly promising, with new techniques and applications being developed all the time. One of the most exciting areas of research is in unsupervised learning, where models learn from unlabeled data. This has the potential to greatly reduce the need for labeled data, which is one of the main challenges in deep learning.

Another promising area of research is in the development of more efficient training algorithms. This could help to reduce the computational requirements of deep learning, making it more accessible to a wider range of organizations and individuals.

Deep Learning & Artificial Intelligence

Deep learning is a key technology behind the current resurgence of interest in artificial intelligence. It is being used to develop AI systems that can perform tasks that were previously thought to be the exclusive domain of humans, such as recognizing images, understanding natural language, and playing complex games.

As deep learning continues to advance, it is likely to play an increasingly important role in the development of AI. This could lead to the development of AI systems that are capable of performing a wide range of tasks, from driving cars to diagnosing diseases, with a high degree of accuracy and autonomy.

Deep Learning & Big Data

Deep learning is also closely linked with the rise of big data. The availability of large amounts of data is one of the key factors that has enabled the success of deep learning. Deep learning algorithms are able to learn complex patterns from large amounts of data, making them highly effective for tasks such as image recognition, speech recognition, and natural language processing.

As the amount of data continues to grow, it is likely that deep learning will become even more important. This could lead to the development of new deep learning algorithms and models, as well as new applications of deep learning in fields such as healthcare, finance, and transportation.

Nathan Robinson
Nathan Robinson
Product Owner
Nathan is a product leader with proven success in defining and building B2B, B2C, and B2B2C mobile, web, and wearable products. These products are used by millions and available in numerous languages and countries. Following his time at IBM Watson, he 's focused on developing products that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, earning accolades such as Forbes' Tech to Watch and TechCrunch's Top AI Products.

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