Send to

Choose Destination
Science. 2015 Dec 11;350(6266):1332-8. doi: 10.1126/science.aab3050.

Human-level concept learning through probabilistic program induction.

Author information

Center for Data Science, New York University, 726 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, USA.
Department of Computer Science and Department of Statistics, University of Toronto, 6 King's College Road, Toronto, ON M5S 3G4, Canada.
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


People learning new concepts can often generalize successfully from just a single example, yet machine learning algorithms typically require tens or hundreds of examples to perform with similar accuracy. People can also use learned concepts in richer ways than conventional algorithms-for action, imagination, and explanation. We present a computational model that captures these human learning abilities for a large class of simple visual concepts: handwritten characters from the world's alphabets. The model represents concepts as simple programs that best explain observed examples under a Bayesian criterion. On a challenging one-shot classification task, the model achieves human-level performance while outperforming recent deep learning approaches. We also present several "visual Turing tests" probing the model's creative generalization abilities, which in many cases are indistinguishable from human behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center