Google just acquired DNNresearch, a spinoff company from the University of Toronto led by Geoffrey Hinton. The DNN in the company name stands for deep neural networks. As I have been learning from Professor Hinton’s online course, these are networks with multiple “hidden” layers of neurons. A hidden layer sits between an input and output layer. Hidden layers are responsible for much of the power of modern neural networks and the breakthroughs that have occurred are how to train these hidden layers (something that our brain does magnificently well).
I can highly recommend Hinton’s class. Even if you just watch the first couple of lectures to learn more about the recent advances in neural networks. Hinton has had an unwavering commitment to researching neural networks even at a time when it wasn’t popular. With all the hoopla surrounding neural networks these days its easy to forget that there was a long period where neural network researchers labored in relative obscurity (fun aside: in looking up Hinton, I discovered that he is the great-great-grandson of George Boole).