Researchers with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) said their five-year program called Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) would offer participants a
“Over the course of the program, participants will use their improving understanding of the representations, transformations, and learning rules employed by the brain to create ever more capable neurally-derived machine learning algorithms. Ultimate computational goals for MICrONS include the ability to perform complex information processing tasks such as one-shot learning, unsupervised clustering, and scene parsing. Ultimately, as performers incorporate these insights into successive versions of the machine learning algorithms, they will devise solutions that can perform complex information processing tasks aiming towards human-like proficiency,” IARPA stated.
IARPA said that
“This performance gap between software and wetware persists despite some correspondence between the architecture of the leading machine learning algorithms and their biological counterparts in the brain, presumably because the two still differ significantly in the details of operation. The MICrONS program is predicated on the notion that it will be possible to achieve major breakthroughs in machine learning if we can construct synthetic systems that not only resemble the high-level blueprints of the brain, but also employ lower-level computing modules derived from the specific computations performed by cortical circuits,” IARPA stated.
IARPA said that the rate of effective knowledge transfer between neuroscience and machine learning has been slow because of differing scientific priorities, funding sources, knowledge repositories, and lexicons. As a result, very few of the ideas about neural computing that have emerged over the past few decades have been incorporated into modern machine learning algorithms.
Researchers at another government advanced research outfit Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) also have some machine learning work going on.
DARPA has a program called Probabilistic Programming for Advanced Machine Learning (PPAML) that looks to dramatically increasing the number of people who can successfully build machine learning applications and enable new applications that are impossible to conceive of using today's technology.
Machine learning, DARPA says, is already a the heart of many cutting edge technologies today, like email spam filters, smartphone personal assistants and self-driving cars.