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Shakir Mohamed

Shakir Mohamed

Research Scientist at Google DeepMind

Bio: My name is Shakir and I 'm a researcher in statistical machine learning and artificial intelligence. I'm a senior research scientist at Google DeepMind in London. Before that I was a CIFAR scholar with Nando de Freitas at the University of British Columbia, and I completed my PhD with Zoubin Gharahramani at the University of Cambridge. I'm from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Learning in Brains and Machines (1): Temporal Differences

Learning in Brains and Machines (1): Temporal Differences

We all make mistakes, and as is often said, only then can we learn. Our mistakes allow us to gain insight, and the ability to make better judgements and fewer mistakes in future. In their influential paper, the neuroscientists Robert Rescorla and Allan Wagner put this more succinctly, ‘organisms only learn when events violate their expectations’ [1]. And […]

Cognitive Machine Learning: Prologue

Cognitive Machine Learning: Prologue

Sources of inspiration is one thing we do not lack in machine learning. This is what, for me at least, makes  machine learning research such a rewarding and exciting area to work in. We gain inspiration from our traditional neighbors in statistics, signal processing and control engineering, information theory and statistical physics. But our fortune continues, and we […]

Cognitive Machine Learning (2): Uncertain Thoughts

Cognitive Machine Learning (2): Uncertain Thoughts

She pined in thought,  And with a green and yellow melancholy She sat like Patience on a monument,  Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed? [King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4, Line 117]   In King Lear, Shakespeare stirs a sense of self-consciousness by invoking Patience, sitting up high; isolated in her thoughts; pining; reflecting in silence. It […]

Cognitive Machine Learning (1): Learning to Explain

Cognitive Machine Learning (1): Learning to Explain

Above is an image of the Zaamenkomst panel: one of the best remaining exemplars of rock art from the San people of Southern Africa. As soon as you see it, you are inevitably herded, like the eland in the scene, through a series of thoughts. Does it have a meaning?  Why are the eland running? What do the white lines coming […]