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DTREG Neural networks are predictive models loosely based on the action of biological neurons.

DTREG is the ideal

tool for modeling The selection of the name “neural network” was one of the great PR successes of the Twentieth Century. It certainly

business and medical

data with categorical

sounds more exciting than a technical description such as “A network of weighted, additive values with nonlinear transfer

variables such as sex, functions”. However, despite the name, neural networks are far from “thinking machines” or “artificial brains”. A typical

race and marital artifical neural network might have a hundred neurons. In comparison, the human nervous system is believed to have about

status. 3x1010 neurons. We are still light years from “Data” on Star Trek.

Decision trees present The original “Perceptron” model was developed by Frank Rosenblatt in 1958. Rosenblatt’s model consisted of three layers,

a clear, logical model (1) a “retina” that distributed inputs to the second layer, (2) “association units” that combine the inputs with weights and

that can be trigger a threshold step function which feeds to the output layer, (3) the output layer which combines the values.

understood easily by Unfortunately, the use of a step function in the neurons made the perceptions difficult or impossible to train. A critical

people who are not

mathematically analysis of perceptrons published in 1969 by Marvin Minsky and Seymore Papert pointed out a number of critical

inclined. weaknesses of perceptrons, and, for a period of time, interest in perceptrons waned.

Interest in neural networks was revived in 1986 when David Rumelhart, Geoffrey Hinton and Ronald Williams published

If you have a need for

linear or nonlinear “Learning Internal Representations by Error Propagation”. They proposed a multilayer neural network with nonlinear but

regression analysis, differentiable transfer functions that avoided the pitfalls of the original perceptron’s step functions. They also provided a

check out the NLREG reasonably effective training algorithm for neural networks.

program.

Types of Neural Networks

out the News Rover

program that When used without qualification, the terms “Neural Network” (NN) and “Artificial Neural Network” (ANN) usually refer to a

automatically scans Multilayer Perceptron Network. However, there are many other types of neural networks including Probabilistic Neural

Usenet newsgroups, Networks, General Regression Neural Networks, Radial Basis Function Networks, Cascade Correlation, Functional Link

downloads messages

Networks, Kohonen networks, Gram-Charlier networks, Learning Vector Quantization, Hebb networks, Adaline networks,

of interest to you,

decodes binary file Heteroassociative networks, Recurrent Networks and Hybrid Networks.

attachments,

reconstructs files split DTREG implements the most widely used types of neural networks: Multilayer Perceptron Networks (also known as

across multiple multilayer feed-forward network), Cascade Correlation Neural Networks, Probabilistic Neural Networks (PNN) and General

messages, and

eliminates spam and

Regression Neural Networks (GRNN). This section describes Multilayer Perceptron Networks. Click here for information

duplicate files. News about Probabilistic and General Regression neural networks. Click here for information about Cascade Correlation neural

Rover also has a built- networks.

in MP3 music search

engine and can

quickly locate music The Multilayer Perceptron Neural Network Model

files on any Usenet

newsgroup.

The following diagram illustrates a perceptron network with three layers:

This network has an input layer (on the left) with three neurons, one hidden layer (in the middle) with three neurons and

an output layer (on the right) with three neurons.

There is one neuron in the input layer for each predictor variable. In the case of categorical variables, N-1 neurons are used

to represent the N categories of the variable.

http://www.dtreg.com/mlfn.htm 6/6/2011

Multilayer Perceptron Neural Networks Page 2 of 5

Input Layer — A vector of predictor variable values (x1...x p) is presented to the input layer. The input layer (or processing

before the input layer) standardizes these values so that the range of each variable is -1 to 1. The input layer distributes the

values to each of the neurons in the hidden layer. In addition to the predictor variables, there is a constant input of 1.0,

called the bias that is fed to each of the hidden layers; the bias is multiplied by a weight and added to the sum going into the

neuron.

Hidden Layer — Arriving at a neuron in the hidden layer, the value from each input neuron is multiplied by a weight (wji),

and the resulting weighted values are added together producing a combined value uj. The weighted sum (uj) is fed into a

transfer function, σ, which outputs a value hj. The outputs from the hidden layer are distributed to the output layer.

Output Layer — Arriving at a neuron in the output layer, the value from each hidden layer neuron is multiplied by a weight

(wkj), and the resulting weighted values are added together producing a combined value vj. The weighted sum (vj) is fed

into a transfer function, σ, which outputs a value yk. The y values are the outputs of the network.

If a regression analysis is being performed with a continuous target variable, then there is a single neuron in the output

layer, and it generates a single y value. For classification problems with categorical target variables, there are N neurons in

the output layer producing N values, one for each of the N categories of the target variable.

The network diagram shown above is a full-connected, three layer, feed-forward, perceptron neural network. “Fully

connected” means that the output from each input and hidden neuron is distributed to all of the neurons in the following

layer. “Feed forward” means that the values only move from input to hidden to output layers; no values are fed back to

earlier layers (a Recurrent Network allows values to be fed backward).

All neural networks have an input layer and an output layer, but the number of hidden layers may vary. Here is a diagram of

a perceptron network with two hidden layers and four total layers:

When there is more than one hidden layer, the output from one hidden layer is fed into the next hidden layer and separate

weights are applied to the sum going into each layer.

The goal of the training process is to find the set of weight values that will cause the output from the neural network to

match the actual target values as closely as possible. There are several issues involved in designing and training a

multilayer perceptron network:

Deciding how many neurons to use in each hidden layer.

Finding a globally optimal solution that avoids local minima.

Converging to an optimal solution in a reasonable period of time.

Validating the neural network to test for overfitting.

http://www.dtreg.com/mlfn.htm 6/6/2011

Multilayer Perceptron Neural Networks Page 3 of 5

For nearly all problems, one hidden layer is sufficient. Two hidden layers are required for modeling data with discontinuities

such as a saw tooth wave pattern. Using two hidden layers rarely improves the model, and it may introduce a greater risk of

converging to a local minima. There is no theoretical reason for using more than two hidden layers. DTREG can build

models with one or two hidden layers. Three layer models with one hidden layer are recommended.

One of the most important characteristics of a perceptron network is the number of neurons in the hidden layer(s). If an

inadequate number of neurons are used, the network will be unable to model complex data, and the resulting fit will be

poor.

If too many neurons are used, the training time may become excessively long, and, worse, the network may over fit the

data. When overfitting occurs, the network will begin to model random noise in the data. The result is that the model fits the

training data extremely well, but it generalizes poorly to new, unseen data. Validation must be used to test for this.

DTREG includes an automated feature to find the optimal number of neurons in the hidden layer. You specify the minimum

and maximum number of neurons you want it to test, and it will build models using varying numbers of neurons and

measure the quality using either cross validation or hold-out data not used for training. This is a highly effective method for

finding the optimal number of neurons, but it is computationally expensive, because many models must be built, and each

model has to be validated. If you have a multiprocessor computer, you can configure DTREG to use multiple CPU’s during

the process.

The automated search for the optimal number of neurons only searches the first hidden layer. If you select a model with two

hidden layers, you must manually specify the number of neurons in the second hidden layer.

A typical neural network might have a couple of hundred weighs whose values must be found to produce an optimal

solution. If neural networks were linear models like linear regression, it would be a breeze to find the optimal set of weights.

But the output of a neural network as a function of the inputs is often highly nonlinear; this makes the optimization process

complex.

If you plotted the error as a function of the weights, you would likely see a rough surface with many local minima such as

this:

This picture is highly simplified because it represents only a single weight value (on the horizontal axis). With a typical

neural network, you would have a 200-dimension, rough surface with many local valleys.

Optimization methods such as steepest descent and conjugate gradient are highly susceptible to finding local minima if they

begin the search in a valley near a local minimum. They have no ability to see the big picture and find the global minimum.

Several methods have been tried to avoid local minima. The simplest is just to try a number of random starting points and

use the one with the best value. A more sophisticated technique called simulated annealing improves on this by trying

widely separated random values and then gradually reducing (“cooling”) the random jumps in the hope that the location is

getting closer to the global minimum.

DTREG uses the Nguyen-Widrow algorithm to select the initial range of starting weight values. It then uses the conjugate

gradient algorithm to optimize the weights. Conjugate gradient usually finds the optimum weights quickly, but there is no

guarantee that the weight values it finds are globally optimal. So it is useful to allow DTREG to try the optimization multiple

times with different sets of initial random weight values. The number of tries allowed is specified on the Multilayer

Perceptron property page.

Given a set of randomly-selected starting weight values, DTREG uses the conjugate gradient algorithm to optimize the

weight values.

Most training algorithms follow this cycle to refine the weight values: (1) run a set of predictor variable values through the

network using a tentative set of weights, (2) compute the difference between the predicted target value and the actual target

value for this case, (3) average the error information over the entire set of training cases, (4) propagate the error backward

through the network and compute the gradient (vector of derivatives) of the change in error with respect to changes in

weight values, (5) make adjustments to the weights to reduce the error. Each cycle is called an epoch.

Because the error information is propagated backward through the network, this type of training method is called backward

http://www.dtreg.com/mlfn.htm 6/6/2011

Multilayer Perceptron Neural Networks Page 4 of 5

propagation.

The backpropagation training algorithm was first described by Rumelhart and McClelland in 1986; it was the first practical

method for training neural networks. The original procedure used the gradient descent algorithm to adjust the weights

toward convergence using the gradient. Because of this history, the term “backpropagation” or “backprop” often is used to

denote a neural network training algorithm using gradient descent as the core algorithm. That is somewhat unfortunate

since backward propagation of error information through the network is used by nearly all training algorithms, some of

which are much better than gradient descent.

Backpropagation using gradient descent often converges very slowly or not at all. On large-scale problems its success

depends on user-specified learning rate and momentum parameters. There is no automatic way to select these parameters,

and if incorrect values are specified the convergence may be exceedingly slow, or it may not converge at all. While

backpropagation with gradient descent is still used in many neural network programs, it is no longer considered to be the

best or fastest algorithm.

DTREG uses the conjugate gradient algorithm to adjust weight values using the gradient during the backward propagation

of errors through the network. Compared to gradient descent, the conjugate gradient algorithm takes a more direct path to

the optimal set of weight values. Usually, conjugate gradient is significantly faster and more robust than gradient descent.

Conjugate gradient also does not require the user to specify learning rate and momentum parameters.

The traditional conjugate gradient algorithm uses the gradient to compute a search direction. It then uses a line search

algorithm such as Brent’s Method to find the optimal step size along a line in the search direction. The line search avoids

the need to compute the Hessian matrix of second derivatives, but it requires computing the error at multiple points along

the line. The conjugate gradient algorithm with line search (CGL) has been used successfully in many neural network

programs, and is considered one of the best methods yet invented.

DTREG provides the traditional conjugate gradient algorithm with line search, but it also offers a newer algorithm, Scaled

Conjugate Gradient developed in 1993 by Martin Fodslette Moller.

The scaled conjugate gradient algorithm uses a numerical approximation for the second derivatives (Hessian matrix), but it

avoids instability by combining the model-trust region approach from the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm with the conjugate

gradient approach. This allows scaled conjugate gradient to compute the optimal step size in the search direction without

having to perform the computationally expensive line search used by the traditional conjugate gradient algorithm. Of course,

there is a cost involved in estimating the second derivatives.

Tests performed by Moller show the scaled conjugate gradient algorithm converging up to twice as fast as traditional

conjugate gradient and up to 20 times as fast as backpropagation using gradient descent. Moller’s tests also showed that

scaled conjugate gradient failed to converge less often than traditional conjugate gradient or backpropagation using

gradient descent.

Controls for multilayer perceptron analyses are provided on a screen in DTREG that has the following image:

http://www.dtreg.com/mlfn.htm 6/6/2011

Multilayer Perceptron Neural Networks Page 5 of 5

Purchase DTREG.

http://www.dtreg.com/mlfn.htm 6/6/2011

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