Baidu Sets A New Record On ImageNet AI Benchmark

Chinese search engine giant Baidu has been working on artificial intelligence for years. Now its Minwa supercomputer has set a new record on the closely-watched ImageNet artificial intelligence benchmark. Minwa boasts of the world’s most accurate computer vision system. Baidu’s supercomputer scanned ImageNet, a database of more than one million images. Then Minwa taught itself how to sort these pictures into a predefined set of about 1,000 different categories, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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Baidu’s technology has minimum error rate

Microsoft’s software has achieved an error rate of 4.94%, while Google had a slightly lower error rate of 4.8% on the same benchmark. Baidu beat them both by reducing the error rate further to just 4.58%. By comparison, humans have an error rate of 5% even after some practice. Until 2010, it seemed almost impossible that artificial intelligence would surpass humans on this benchmark.

But supercomputers from Baidu, Microsoft and Google have performed better than the best human results. We have already started seeing the impact of deep learning in our daily lives. Google has used it to significantly improve Android’s voice recognition system. Baidu uses its giant supercomputers to improve its Chinese- and English-language speech recognition.

Baidu to build an even bigger supercomputer

Last month, the Beijing-based company unveiled a multilingual translation robot that can do translation work and conduct interviews with utmost precision. Baidu’s chief scientist Andrew Ng said that over the next 18 months the company will build an even larger supercomputer that could perform seven quadrillion calculations per second. It will be among the 10 most powerful supercomputers in the world.

It is interesting that deep learning has been dominated by only few deep-pocketed players such as Microsoft, Google and Baidu that can hire top artificial intelligence experts and amass huge data sets. Facebook is also investing heavily in artificial intelligence. Baidu is expected to launch a self-driving car by the end of this year.

Baidu shares fell 0.49% to $189.90 in pre-market trading Tuesday.