February 25, 2024

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NTU Navigating Complexity to Enhance AI Models

Understanding how the brain combines previously acquired skills to tackle new challenges remains a complex puzzle in neuroscience. Nanyang Assistant Professor Hiroshi Makino, from NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, sheds light on this intriguing process through a study involving mice and theoretical analyses with artificial intelligence (AI) models. The research not only unveils the brain’s ability to compose new skills but also holds implications for enhancing AI models.

Mice were trained in behavioural experiments involving tasks requiring the manipulation of a joystick to move an object towards a destination. Successful completion of the task resulted in a water reward. Subsequently, the mice were trained to associate licking a waterspout with receiving water. The complexity increased when the mice were challenged with a combined task – using the joystick to move the waterspout to a specific location and then licking it to obtain their water reward.

Assistant Professor Makino delved into the neural activity of both mice and AI models. The focus was on understanding how the mice integrated their learned skills to accomplish the composite task. The findings revealed a mechanism where the brain combines representations of pre-learned action values from constituent subtasks. This insight into the brain’s learning process holds potential for improving our understanding of cognitive functions.

The study incorporated theoretical predictions from the field of deep reinforcement learning, where agents learn to solve composite tasks by combining representations of pre-learned action values from simpler subtasks. AI models provided a theoretical framework that helped in understanding the learning process observed in mice. The theoretical predictions were validated through empirical testing on the mice, showcasing a convergence between artificial and biological systems.

Assistant Professor Makino believes that this research not only enhances our understanding of how the brain learns but also has implications for improving AI models in the future. The ability to compose new skills from a pre-acquired repertoire is a crucial aspect of biological intelligence, and the study offers valuable insights into this fundamental cognitive process.

The study draws parallels between deep RL algorithms, which leverage policy entropy to express stochastic policies, and the initial high variability observed in behaviour during pretraining. This algorithmic convergence between artificial and biological systems prompts further exploration into the mechanisms that promote exploration for future learning.

This groundbreaking study not only unravels the mysteries of how the brain combines learned skills but also establishes a crucial connection between artificial intelligence models and biological systems. As we delve deeper into the brain’s ability to tackle new challenges through the integration of existing knowledge, the study opens avenues for future research in neuroscience and AI, with potential implications for advancements in both fields.

NTU Singapore, under the leadership of President Professor Ho Teck Hua, has unveiled a new initiative to address global opportunities and challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI). The university aims to boost AI education, research, and innovation, introducing new programmes such as the Bachelor of Science in AI and Society and the Turing AI Scholars Programme. These efforts align with Singapore’s national AI strategy and solidify NTU’s position as a leading global university.

Singapore is keenly focused on deploying Artificial Intelligence across various fields to enhance efficiency and drive innovation. Recognising the transformative potential of AI, the Singaporean government has been actively fostering an ecosystem conducive to the development and application of AI technologies.

Singapore proactively tackles safety and ethical concerns tied to AI technologies by investing in research and development to formulate guidelines and standards prioritising safety in AI deployment. This approach seeks to foster public trust in AI while minimising associated risks linked to its extensive adoption.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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