Oral
Using Fast Weights to Attend to the Recent Past
Jimmy Ba · Geoffrey E Hinton · Volodymyr Mnih · Joel Leibo · Catalin Ionescu

Tue Dec 6th 04:40 -- 05:00 PM @ Area 1 + 2

Until recently, research on artificial neural networks was largely restricted to systems with only two types of variable: Neural activities that represent the current or recent input and weights that learn to capture regularities among inputs, outputs and payoffs. There is no good reason for this restriction. Synapses have dynamics at many different time-scales and this suggests that artificial neural networks might benefit from variables that change slower than activities but much faster than the standard weights. These ``fast weights'' can be used to store temporary memories of the recent past and they provide a neurally plausible way of implementing the type of attention to the past that has recently proven helpful in sequence-to-sequence models. By using fast weights we can avoid the need to store copies of neural activity patterns.

Author Information

Jimmy Ba (University of Toronto)
Geoffrey E Hinton (Google)

Geoffrey Hinton received his PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh in 1978 and spent five years as a faculty member at Carnegie-Mellon where he pioneered back-propagation, Boltzmann machines and distributed representations of words. In 1987 he became a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and moved to the University of Toronto. In 1998 he founded the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London, returning to the University of Toronto in 2001. His group at the University of Toronto then used deep learning to change the way speech recognition and object recognition are done. He currently splits his time between the University of Toronto and Google. In 2010 he received the NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal, Canada's top award in Science and Engineering.

Volodymyr Mnih (DeepMind)
Joel Leibo (Google DeepMind)
Catalin Ionescu (Google)

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