Episode 5 - Digital Intelligence
Computers are extraordinary machines, able to perform feats of arithmetic that far exceed the capabilities of any human. They can store a huge quantity of data, and recall it perfectly in the blink of an eye. They can even beat the world champion at chess. So why do computers struggle to solve apparently simple tasks such as understanding speech, or translating text between languages? Why is a 3 year old toddler better at recognising everyday objects than the world's most powerful supercomputer? In the last of this year's Christmas Lectures, Chris Bishop will look at one of the great frontiers of computer science. We'll see how some of the toughest computational problems are now being tackled by giving computers the ability to learn solutions for themselves, in much the same way as people learn by example. This has led to impressive progress with problems such as recognising handwriting and finding information on the web. But we are only beginning to explore the power of computation, and there are many challenges ahead in our quest for the ultimate computer.

Episode 1 - Breaking The Speed Barrier How is it possible to build a machine as complex as the microprocessor with a billion tiny components packed into a space the size of a postage stamp?

Episode 2 - Chips With Everything Every day we interact with dozens if not hundreds of computers, often without even realising it. This lecture reveals the state-of-the-art in computer interaction.

Episode 3 - The Ghost In The Machine What is software, and how is it stored inside the computer? Why are some problems just too hard for any computer to solve, and how can we turn this to our advantage?

Episode 4 - Untangling The Web How does information make its way across the internet, through hundreds of computers to the right destination? How does a search engine find the web page you want amongst billions of possibilities in a fraction of a second?

Episode 5 - Digital Intelligence Computers are extraordinary machines, able to perform feats of arithmetic that far exceed the capabilities of any human. So why is a 3 year old toddler better at recognising everyday objects than the world's most powerful supercomputer?

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