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AI2 challenge puts computer vision to the test

Charades Challenge
For AI2’s Charades Challenge, visual systems had to recognize and classify a wide variety of daily activities in realistic videos. This is just a sampling of the videos. (AI2 Photos)

Some of the world’s top researchers in AI have proved their mettle by taking top honors in three challenges posed by the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

The institute, also known as AI2, was created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2014 to blaze new trails in the field of artificial intelligence. One of AI2’s previous challenges tested the ability of AI platforms to answer eighth-grade-level science questions.

The three latest challenges focused on visual understanding – that is, the ability of a computer program to navigate real-world environments and situations using synthetic vision and machine learning.

These aren’t merely academic exercises: Visual understanding is a must-have for AI applications ranging from self-driving cars to automated security monitoring to sociable robots.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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