YouTuber Siraj Raval admits he plagiarized boffins’ neural qubit papers – as ESA axes his workshop

The YouTuber Siraj Raval, the man who is famous for his quick education videos on the field of ML and DL is continuously facing criticism after his course ‘Make money with Machine Learning’ and now he totally admitted plagiarizing real scientists’ work to produce his research paper on neural qubits.

Recently Siraj has published his new research paper ‘ The Neural Qubit ‘ which he has now taken down. In this research paper, Siraj has been caught stealing the work of other scientists and researchers’ work and the paper was found to be almost 90% plagiarised.

In his research paper, Siraj discusses how quantum mechanics and deep learning can be merged together, to create a novel quantum neural network architecture. He submitted his research work to an online platform called viXra, that has doesn’t really have any submission rules and isn’t peer review.

This fraud was first found by Andrew M Webb, a researcher associate in the computer science department at the University of Manchester and a machine learning R&D engineer at vTime Limited. Andrew Webb starts investigating Raval’s paper after watching one of the AI celeb’s online videos.

After his investigation, Andrew Webb submitted snippets of Siraj’s paper into Duplichecke, Duplichecke, as its names describe, is a free online tool that checks documents for plagiarism

Webb found that many parts of the paper are plagiarised from Nathan Killoran, Seth Lloyd, and co-authors. Interestingly, the parts that aren’t plagiarised from Killoran et al. are taken from this paper by Wang et al. You can check Wang’s paper on Simulating Cognition with Quantum Computers here.

“I hadn’t seen Killoran’s paper before, but when I saw [Raval]’s paper I suspected plagiarism quite quickly,” Webb told The Register on Sunday. Webb spotted that the figures and equations in the YouTuber’s paper were of low quality, hinting that they may have been screenshots taken from another paper.

The whole process revealed that large passages of Raval’s screed were lifted from research papers written by eggheads at Canadian quantum computing startup Xanadu and the US super-college MIT [PDF], and Texas A&M University [PDF].

The paper also shows odd terms like “quantum door” or a “complicated Hilbert space.” “In this case, ‘quantum door’ came from ‘quantum gate,’ and ‘complicated Hilbert space’ from ‘complex Hilbert space’,” said Webb.

“Unfortunately for Siraj, in this context, ‘gate’ and ‘complex’ have precise technical meanings, and the phrases become nonsense after the substitution.”

YouTuber Siraj Raval admits he plagiarized boffins' neural qubit papers – as ESA axes his workshop

These bizarre and hilariously bad synonyms made it more difficult for the plagiarism software to catch out Raval. He also changed the word order in some sentences and removed references.

The code described in his paper, and posted on his GitHub profile, was also taken from Xanadu. Raval has now deleted the code and apologized on Twitter.

Siraj blamed his mistakes on a heavy work schedule that involved posting two to three videos on YouTube a week for nearly four years. “Monitoring social media metrics and aiming to satisfy an ever-growing audience by myself has taken a toll on my mental health,” he said.

“Early next year I’ll take time off to reflect and plan healthier ways to serve others.”

YouTuber Siraj Raval admits he plagiarized boffins' neural qubit papers – as ESA axes his workshop 4

Not only the Siraj’s research paper but the other materials like course files use by the Siraj course were also take from another website.

One student of the Siraj course name Gant Laborde claimed on Monday some of Raval’s course files were lifted from other websites. For instance, below is a comparison of the YouTuber’s machine-learning notes for pupils, and wording found on a marketing website

Left A screenshot from a lesson from Raval’s online ML course ... Right A screenshot taken from a website from the marketing company Single Grain. Save for a few word changes here and there, the text is pretty much identic
Left A screenshot from a lesson from Raval’s online ML course … Right, A screenshot is taken from a website from the marketing company Single Grain. Save for a few word changes here and there, the text is pretty much identic

When the asked Raval for comment, he told:

I’ve hardly taken any time off to relax since I first started my YouTube channel almost four years ago. And despite the enormous amount of work, it takes to release two high-quality videos a week for my audience.

I progressively started to take on multiple other projects simultaneously by myself – a book, a docu-series, podcasts, YouTube videos, the course, the school of AI. Basically, these past few weeks, I’ve been experiencing a burnout, unlike anything I’ve felt before. As a result, all of my output has been subpar.

I made the [neural qubits] video and paper in one week. I remember wishing I had three to six months to really dive into quantum machine-learning and make something awesome, but telling myself I couldn’t take that long as it would hinder my other projects.

I plagiarized large chunks of the paper to meet my self-imposed one-week deadline. The associated video with animations took a lot more work to make. I didn’t expect the paper to be cited as serious research, I considered it an additional reading resource for people who enjoyed the associated video to learn more about quantum machine learning.

If I had a second chance, I’d definitely take way more time to write the paper, and in my own words.

I’ve given refunds to every student who’s asked so far, and the majority of students are still enrolled in the course. There are many happy students, they’re just not as vocal on social media. We’re on week 8 of 10 of my course, fully committed to student success.

“And, no, I haven’t plagiarized research for any other paper,” he added


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