Karl Steinbuch: Lernmatrix
explained by Marco Stang and Felix Pistorius
- Documentary of artworks
The »Lernmatrix« (learning matrix) was developed by Karl Steinbuch during the 1960s in Karlsruhe, at what is today the Institute for Information Processing Technologies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It was one of the first technically viable self-learning systems.
This example of the »Lernmatrix« is from 1969 and consists of two modules. The input module is the system’s eye, enabling the reading of five vowels in uppercase and lowercase, captured via photocells and transmitted to the output module which is the system’s brain, where a matrix of two hundred relays undertakes the learning and recognition of the letters.
During the »learning phase« the letters are assigned a »meaning.« For this purpose, the switches in the relay matrix alternate between columns and rows to express affiliation. In »recall mode« the »Lernmatrix« has learned the form of the letters and is even able to recognize letters that do not correspond exactly to the letter that has been learned.
ZKM | Videostudio
Camera: Frenz Jordt, Andy Koch
Editing: Andy Koch