It is easiest to understand deep learning with some historical context. Rather than providing a detailed history of deep learning, we identify a few key trends:

• Deep learning has had a long and rich history, but has gone by many names reflecting different philosophical viewpoints, and has waxed and waned in popularity.

• Deep learning has become more useful as the amount of available training data has increased.

• Deep learning models have grown in size over time as computer infrastructure (both hardware and software) for deep learning has improved.

• Deep learning has solved increasingly complicated applications with increasing accuracy over time.

Increasing Dataset Sizes

One may wonder why deep learning has only recently become recognized as a crucial technology though the first experiments with artificial neural networks were conducted in the 1950s. Deep learning has been successfully used in commercial applications since the 1990s, but was often regarded as being more of an art than a technology and something that only an expert could use, until recently. It is true that some skill is required to get good performance from a deep learning algorithm. Fortunately, the amount of skill required reduces as the amount of training data increases. The learning algorithms reaching human performance on complex tasks today are nearly identical to the learning algorithms that struggled to solve toy problems in the 1980s, though the models we train with these algorithms have undergone changes that simplify the training of very deep architectures. The most important new development is that today we can provide these algorithms with the resources they need to succeed

Increasing Model Sizes

Another key reason that neural networks are wildly successful today after enjoying comparatively little success since the 1980s is that we have the computational resources to run much larger models today. One of the main insights of connectionism is that animals become intelligent when many of their neurons work together.

An individual neuron or small collection of neurons is not particularly useful.

This citation introduces the basic mathematical concepts needed to understand deep learning. We begin with general ideas from applied math that allow us to define functions of many variables, find the highest and lowest points on these functions and quantify degrees of belief..!

Ian Goodfellow

Next, we describe the fundamental goals of machine learning. We describe how to accomplish these goals by specifying a model that represents certain beliefs, designing a cost function that measures how well those beliefs correspond with reality and using a training algorithm to minimize that cost function.

This elementary framework is the basis for a broad variety of machine learning algorithms, including approaches to machine learning that are not deep. In the subsequent parts of the book, we develop deep learning algorithms within this framework.

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