Artificial intelligence created by Estonians solved American science exam

Among the 780 teams that participated in the renowned artificial intelligence competition, the team of the University of Tartu returned with fourth place by creating a programme which passes the American 8th grade exam.

University of Tartu and Estonia was represented in the Kaggle Allen AI Science Challenge with an 80 000 dollar award fund by doctoral student of computer science Tambet Matiisen and employee of the Institute of Computer Science Tanel Pärnamaa.

The contest is about creating a programme which can pass the American 8th grade level science test. The exam consists of multiple choice questions about biology, geography, physics and chemistry. Each question had four answers and only one was correct. The task of the programme created in the competition was to find the correct answer.

Matiisen described that to achieve this they taught an artificial neural network to evaluate the meaning of sentences. “Of the four answers we determined as correct the answer with the most similar meaning to the question.”

According to Matiisen they did not imagine that they could perform so well: “Out of 21 000 questions, our programme gave the correct answer to 56%, the result of the winning team was 59%. What makes the task difficult is that these are not just factual questions, some of them require the skill of deliberation.”

Kaggle is the most well-known organiser of international machine learning competitions. Bigger competitions—such as this artificial intelligence contest—have financial prizes which brings tight competition from all over the world.

The top three of the competition were teams from Israel, Luxembourg and England.

Additional information:

Tambet Matiisen, University of Tartu doctoral student of computer science
tel. +372 52864557


Virge Tamme
Press Officer of the UT
Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5815 5392