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Invited Talk:
The Genomic Bottleneck: A Lesson from Biology

Anthony M Zador

2020-12-10T17:00:00-08:00 - 2020-12-10T19:00:00-08:00
  • Moderator: Blake Richards
  • On-demand video (45 minutes)
  • Live Q&A (10 min)
  • Break (5 min)
  • Ask Me Anything Chat (up to an hour)
Abstract: Many animals are born with impressive innate capabilities. At birth, a spider can build a web, a colt can stand, and a whale can swim. From an evolutionary perspective, it is easy to see how innate abilities could be selected for: Those individuals that can survive beyond their most vulnerable early hours, days or weeks are more likely to survive until reproductive age, and attain reproductive age sooner. I argue that most animal behavior is not the result of clever learning algorithms, but is encoded in the genome. Specifically, animals are born with highly structured brain connectivity, which enables them to learn very rapidly. Because the wiring diagram is far too complex to be specified explicitly in the genome, it must be compressed through a “genomic bottleneck,” which serves as a regularizer. The genomic bottleneck suggests a path toward architectures capable of rapid learning.

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