Researchers through a multidisciplinary project funded by ‘Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’, with their combined expertise in fruit fly biology established an olfactory system using machine learning. It imitates the fruit fly’s visual network and how they can distinguish and re-identify flies. Providing backing for— that the humble fruit fly’s vision is clearer than earlier anticipated, the researchers implemented machine learning and displayed that individual Drosophila melanogaster (commonly known as fruit flies) are visually distinct and that they have the capability to be relied upon for differentiating between individuals based on sight alone.

The salient similarity of Drosophila’s visual network in relation to present convolution neural networks has also been investigated in order to identify melanogaster’s potency for visual understanding. In their research, they observed that, despite the simplicity of their visual network and their limited ability of optical resolution, fruit fly’s neuronal architecture has the ability to extract and encrypt a rich set of attribute that enables flies to re-identify individual specifics with striking correctness.

This is actually a work that even humans who volunteer their lifetime studying Drosophila melanogaster struggle with and these experiments certainly provide a clear proof of the fundamental that D. melanogaster’s dwell in a much more complex visual world than earlier thought.

Since Drosophila melanogaster have been heavily employed in research in genetics and is common model specie in developmental biology, the analysis may allow numerous labs worldwide that utilize fruit flies as a model organism to conduct more protracted work, seeing at how individual fruit flies show their transition over time.

Researchers at the University Of Toronto, Ontario, and the University of Guelph jointly built a biologically-based model that swirls through low-resolution videos of D. melanogaster’s in order to check whether it is physically feasible for a system with such restraints to accomplish such a complex course of action.

Melanogaster’s are revealed to have small compound eyes that receive in a confined amount of visual information, approximately 29 units squared. The conventional opinion has been that once the image is processed by a D. Melanogaster , it is only capable to differentiate between very broad features. However, amending the traditional view, the researchers brought into light an out of the box discovery which discloses that fruit flies can expand their effective resolution with profound biological tactics.

This resulted in researchers to believe that vision could grant inevitably to the social lives of flies. This, jointly with the revelation that the structure of the fruit flies visual system looks a lot like a Deep Convolutional Network (DCN), led the researchers to think upon if: “they can prototype a fruit fly brain that can recognize individuals?”

Using the virtual fly-eye model enabled researchers achieves a relatively high F1 score of 0.75, in absence of exact size measures, even outperformed humans. It was further noted that the fly-eye model almost never mistaken a male for a female or vice-versa (F1-score exceeding 0.99 when the re-identification IDs were disintegrated by male or female gender). So it is Hi Mary and then Hey Jack! According to Jonathan Schneider, the first author of the paper, the study outlines “the beckoning “possibility that rather than just being able to identify broad categories, fruit flies also have the aptness to distinguish individuals.

Taking the excitement ahead seeking the possibility of beating humans at a visual task, Graham W. Taylor, a machine learning specialist and Global Scholar in Machine Learning and Brains program, attempted to mimic and automate human capabilities like facial identification, voice recognition or natural language processing with Deep Neural Network applications. He found that rarely do they go beyond human capacity. So it’s thrilling to find an issue where algorithms can outperform humans.”

“Projects like these – coupling deep learning models with nervous systems are truly prolific and offers a perfect arena for machine learning researchers or neurobiologists to work combined to unearth the principles of how any system — biological or otherwise – grasps and processes information.”

It reveals a lot about how neurons communicate with each other, and about the whole animal. That’s sort of incredibly tantalizing. And it’s unexplored domain.”

The experiments took place in the University of Toronto Mississauga lab of Joel D. Levine, a senior fellow in the CIFAR Child & Brain Development program in combined efforts of Jonathan Schneider, Nihal MuraliID Graham W. TaylorI with high hopes for the future of research like this.


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