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The following is an excerpt from a book adopted by hundreds of universities.

As we do for deep learning more broadly, in this book we adopt the machine learning perspective, focusing on RNNs as practical tools that rose to popularity in the 2010s owing to breakthrough results on such diverse tasks as handwriting recognition (Graves et al., 2008), machine translation (Sutskever et al., 2014), and recognizing medical diagnoses (Lipton et al., 2016).

I'm aware that 'owe' means to attribute success to something, as in the following sentence

I owe my success to my education.

following the pattern 'One owes success to a factor', indicating the person's education played a crucial role in their success.

the passive voice form could be

My success is owed to my education

why does the excerpt from the book uses 'owing to' rather than 'owed to'

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  • Your version isn't idiomatic English. Jan 13 at 9:55

2 Answers 2

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In this context "owing to" means "due to" or "because of". See Cambridge, or Marriam-Webster. The rise of popularity (of RNNs as practical tools) is because of the breakthrough results.

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... we adopt the machine learning perspective, focusing on RNNs as practical tools that rose to popularity in the 2010s owing to breakthrough results ...

owing to breakthrough results is a non-finite adverbial clause. It modifies rose. We could rephrase the passage:

... we adopt the machine learning perspective, focusing on RNNs as practical tools that rose to popularity in the 2010s; the rise was owed to breakthrough results ...

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