What is Deep Learning?

The innovation of Deep Learning is that it enables computers to autonomously recognize complex patterns in data and learn tasks – much like the human brain. Deep Learning is a special form of Machine Learning based on Artificial Neural Networks.

The innovative power of this ML form is most clearly illustrated by an example: in the food industry, Deep Learning can revolutionize the way we produce, process and market food. By detecting deep hierarchies of features, for example, it can automatically identify quality defects during production, making production lines more efficient. By analyzing sensor data, it can identify subtle changes in colors, textures and other characteristics that could indicate quality problems.

The potentials are manifold and range from optimizing the use of resources and improving food safety to developing novel flavor combinations and food innovations.

What is Deep Learning?

Imagine that a neural network consists of many layers of artificial neurons. Each layer takes information from the previous layer and performs calculations to extract increasingly complex features. This hierarchy of features allows the network to extract more abstract and detailed information from the data. When the network analyzes an image, the first layer might recognize simple edges or lines, while subsequent layers recognize patterns such as shapes or textures. The final layers could then identify specific objects or faces.

The particular advantage of Deep Learning lies in automatic feature extraction. Unlike traditional machine learning, where features must be defined manually, a deep neural network can learn the relevant features from the raw data on its own.

Thus, the term “Deep Learning” refers to the use of multiple hidden layers (“Hidden Layers”) in Artificial Neural Networks.

The depth of a neural network is defined by the number of hidden layers. The more hidden layers a network has, the “deeper” it is. It is important to note that the term “deep learning” does not define an exact number of layers. There are no hard and fast rules for when a network is considered “deep”. In practice, modern Deep Learning models can have hundreds or even thousands of layers, and the number of layers often depends on the complexity of the task and the size of the data set. The term “Deep Learning” serves as a collective term for all architectures with multiple layers that take advantage of hierarchical feature representation.

The idea of using multiple hidden layers is critical to the success of Deep Learning. With deeper architectures, neural networks can learn hierarchical features and abstract representations of the data. Rather than just extracting simple features from input data, deep networks can recognize increasingly complex and abstract patterns by linking features across layers.

Earlier approaches in machine learning used flat architectures with only one or two layers. These flat models were able to handle simpler tasks, but had difficulty capturing complex relationships in the data. With the introduction of deeper networks, it became possible to tackle more complex problems, such as recognizing objects in images or translating speech into other languages.

Deep Learning has led to numerous breakthroughs in various fields. For example, it has taken speech and image recognition to unprecedented levels. Translation and transcription services use Deep Learning to produce more natural and accurate results. Even in medicine, Deep Learning has shown enormous potential to diagnose complex medical conditions and create personalized treatment plans.

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Agnes Tholen

Director Sales & Marketing (ppa.)

What Deep Learning is not!

A classic mistake in defining Deep Learning is to use it as a synonym for Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning in general. Deep learning is actually a special form of machine learning based on deep neural networks, but it is not identical to machine learning as a whole.

Deep Learning refers to the use of Artificial Neural Networks with multiple layers, also known as deep neural networks. These deep networks allow the algorithm to learn a hierarchy of abstract features from the data, which enables it to recognize complex patterns in the data and model high-dimensional features.

A typical misconception is also to call any neural network Deep Learning, even if it has only one or a few layers. However, Deep Learning refers specifically to networks with many layers, usually more than three or four layers. Such deep networks can have hundreds or even thousands of neurons in each layer and require significant computing power and datasets for training.

Deep Learning: AI in action

An interesting example of Deep Learning in the food industry is the application of computer vision to improve food quality and safety.

In the food industry, quality assurance is an essential aspect of ensuring that products meet standards and are safe for consumption. Traditional quality control methods can be time consuming and error prone.

This is where Deep Learning comes into play. Using deep learning and computer vision, companies can use camera systems to monitor and analyze food in real time. These camera systems capture images or video of the food while it is on the production line.

The deep neural network is trained to analyze the images and recognize patterns of good or bad quality. For example, it can inspect fruits or vegetables for external damage, discoloration, unusual features, or contamination.

By training the neural network sufficiently, it can make accurate and reliable predictions about food quality. It can weed out defective or substandard products before they are offered to consumers, reducing recall costs and food waste.

In addition, Deep Learning can also be used to check food packaging to ensure it is correctly labeled and sealed. This helps ensure regulatory compliance and protects consumers from misleading information.

The application of Deep Learning in the food industry enables efficient and accurate quality control that helps improve product quality, safety, and efficiency in food manufacturing. It is an example of how modern technologies can advance the food industry and provide consumers with high-quality and safe products.

What are the differences between Deep Learning and Machine Learning?

While machine learning focuses on developing algorithms that can perform specific tasks based on data, deep learning goes a step further. It allows algorithms to automatically learn relevant features from data without requiring humans to manually specify those features. Machine learning focuses on developing algorithms that are capable of performing specific tasks based on data. In this process, the algorithm is presented with training data with known results, and it learns from this data to recognize patterns and relationships in order to make predictions or classifications on new data.

So Deep Learning is a special subcategory of Machine Learning that takes a revolutionary approach. One example – two approaches:

Your contact person.


Agnes Tholen

Director Sales & Marketing (ppa.)

Machine Learning

Suppose a company wants to develop a system that can automatically classify food products into different categories, such as “fruits,” “vegetables,” “meats,” “grain products,” and so on.

In traditional machine learning, you would give the algorithm specific features of the food, such as color, shape, texture, or certain ingredients.

The algorithm would then learn to classify foods into the appropriate categories based on these characteristics.

Deep Learning

In contrast, Deep Learning would feed the algorithm a large set of images of different foods without telling it what categories those foods are.

The algorithm would then independently learn which features are characteristic of each food category. By using deep neural networks, the algorithm can detect hierarchical features in the images.

He might learn that round, orange fruits probably belong to the “fruit” category, while green leafy vegetables are more likely to belong to “vegetable.” He could also learn that certain types of meat have a characteristic texture and can therefore be assigned to the “meat” category.

In this way, the Deep Learning system can independently extract a variety of features from the images and use them to classify food products into the correct categories. It is no longer necessary to manually explain specific features to the algorithm, as it learns them independently from the training data.

Deep Learning thus enables automated feature extraction from data and has applications in the food industry such as automatic food classification, food quality detection, or prediction of trends and preferences. This makes it easier for companies to process large amounts of data and enable more precise analytics to improve their products and services and provide better experiences for consumers.