Putting neural networks under the microscope

MIT News 

Researchers from MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) are putting the machine-learning systems known as neural networks under the microscope. In a study that sheds light on how these systems manage to translate text from one language to another, the researchers developed a method that pinpoints individual nodes, or "neurons," in the networks that capture specific linguistic features. Neural networks learn to perform computational tasks by processing huge sets of training data. In machine translation, a network crunches language data annotated by humans, and presumably "learns" linguistic features, such as word morphology, sentence structure, and word meaning. Given new text, these networks match these learned features from one language to another, and produce a translation.