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An Exquisite Ear

The memoir of BBN cofounder and acoustics pioneer Leo Beranek

2 min read
Cover of the book "Riding The Waves: A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry"
IEEE Spectrum

Cover of the book 'Riding The Waves: A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry' Riding The Waves: A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry  By Leo Beranek; MIT Press, 2008; 256 pp.; US $25.95; ISBN: 978-0-262-02629-1

This memoir, by a pioneer of psychoacoustics, is a salient reminder of how business and social collaboration can drive technological innovation. For sure, people skills aren’t enough; you also need an understanding of the underlying science to judge which contracts to accept, never mind with whom it is best to collaborate. It is the rare individual who has all the qualities needed to succeed at all these things. Indeed, Leo Beranek’s character, as much as his talent, is the (usually understated) leitmotif of this book.

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The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds
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Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

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