A Japanese project aimed at creating a computer system smart enough to pass the University of Tokyo entrance exam scored above average on a recent test run of sample math questions, highlighting some its progress as well as some problems. An artificial intelligence system known as the Todai Robot – under development by the Japanese government and several technology firms – has successfully answered 4 of 10 math questions in part of a sample college entrance exam, this according to a press release from project member Fujitsu on Monday.
The objective of the project is to pass the University of Tokyo entrance exams by 2021 (currently between 80 percent and 90 percent for the first-stage exam, and then 30 percent to 40 percent for the second, more-difficult stage) by the use of programmed algorithms that are efficient enough to run on a simple laptop computer. Japanese technology company Fujitsu is leading the project’s efforts at passing the math portion of the exam, and this version was tested on practice exams administered by a popular college prep academy called Yoyogi Seminar. According to the press release, “The artificial brain of Todai Robot automatically solved two out of four University of Tokyo math questions for humanities course, and two of six math questions for science course. Among all exam takers for humanities and sciences, the results represented a deviation value of approximately 60.”
The Todai Robot project’s anticipated completion date is by 2021, and speaks a lot about the challenges in actually pulling this off. Building intelligent systems is never easy —IBM took several years to get its famous Watson computer ready for Jeopardy! Trivia questions. More to the fact, trying to develop a system that is running on a single processor means a lot of optimization just to account for the limited capacity. The researchers and creators of the Todai Robot acknowledge it will be a tough goal to meet, but at least the math goal has been sufficiently met, giving impetus for the other parts of the system to be worked on.