THE ABACUS is probably the first ever 1:1 interactive physical representation of real, functioning deep learning network, represented in the form of a light sculpture.
The main purpose of the installation is to materialise and demystify inherently ephemeral nature of artificial neural networks on which our lives are becoming increasingly reliant on. As the part of new permanent exhibition devoted to the Future the installation aims to engage and educate the audience in artistically compelling ways being the manifestation of art and science movement goals.
Installation consists of 6 layers and 195 neurons in total. The network has been trained to do simple hand written digit classification – quite a basic task, but the main challenge was to prune and optimise the network so it has as few neurons and connections as possible to make it feasible to build the physical representation of it. Each of the 195 neurons is unique due to topology of inputs and outputs so 3D resin printing (SLA) was used. The whole geometry of the “connectome” has been calculated using parametric design approach (Grasshopper) utilising spatial simulation techniques to solve the connections in physical space. Inside of each neuron there is a custom electronics module designed to control the light not only for each neuron as such but also all outgoing connections representing the behaviour of the network during the inference.
The Project has been commissioned by the Copernicus Science Center for a brand new permanent exhibition – “The Future is Today”. Machine learning part – project consulting, network training, optimisation and deployment by Wojciech Stokowiec.
Special thanks to Anna Skrzypek-Duda and the whole team of “The Future is Today” exhibition at Copernicus Science Centre.