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How Neural Nets Work

Neural Information Processing Systems

How Neural Nets Work Alan Lapedes Robert Farber Theoretical Division Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, NM 87545 Abstract: There is presently great interest in the abilities of neural networks to mimic "qualitative reasoning" by manipulating neural incodings of symbols. Less work has been performed on using neural networks to process floating point numbers and it is sometimes stated that neural networks are somehow inherently inaccurate and therefore best suited for "fuzzy" qualitative reasoning. Nevertheless, the potential speed of massively parallel operations make neural net "number crunching" an interesting topic to explore. In this paper we discuss some of our work in which we demonstrate that for certain applications neural networks can achieve significantly higher numerical accuracy than more conventional techniques. In particular, prediction of future values of a chaotic time series can be performed with exceptionally high accuracy. We analyze how a neural net is able to do this, and in the process show that a large class of functions from Rn. Rffl may be accurately approximated by a backpropagation neural net with just two "hidden" layers. The network uses this functional approximation to perform either interpolation (signal processing applications) or extrapolation (symbol processing applicationsJ.


How Neural Nets Work

Neural Information Processing Systems

Less work has been performed on using neural networks to process floating point numbers and it is sometimes stated that neural networks are somehow inherently inaccurate andtherefore best suited for "fuzzy" qualitative reasoning. Nevertheless, the potential speed of massively parallel operations make neural net "number crunching" an interesting topic to explore. In this paper we discuss some of our work in which we demonstrate that for certain applications neural networks can achieve significantly higher numerical accuracy than more conventional techniques. Inparticular, prediction of future values of a chaotic time series can be performed with exceptionally high accuracy. We analyze how a neural net is able to do this, and in the process show that a large class of functions from Rn. Rffl may be accurately approximated by a backpropagation neural net with just two "hidden" layers. The network uses this functional approximation to perform either interpolation (signal processing applications) or extrapolation (symbol processing applicationsJ. Neural nets therefore use quite familiar methods toperform.


Fast Learning in Multi-Resolution Hierarchies

Neural Information Processing Systems

A variety of approaches to adaptive information processing have been developed by workers in disparate disciplines. These include the large body of literature on approximation and interpolation techniques (curve and surface fitting), the linear, real-time adaptive signal processing systems (such as the adaptive linear combiner and the Kalman filter), and most recently, the reincarnation of nonlinear neural network models such as the multilayer perceptron. Each of these methods has its strengths and weaknesses. The curve and surface fitting techniques are excellent for off-line data analysis, but are typically not formulated with real-time applications in mind. The linear techniques of adaptive signal processing and adaptive control are well-characterized, but are limited to applications for which linear descriptions are appropriate. Finally, neural network learning models such as back propagation have proven extremely versatile at learning a wide variety of nonlinear mappings, but tend to be very slow computationally and are not yet well characterized.


Fast Learning in Multi-Resolution Hierarchies

Neural Information Processing Systems

A variety of approaches to adaptive information processing have been developed by workers in disparate disciplines. These include the large body of literature on approximation and interpolation techniques (curve and surface fitting), the linear, real-time adaptive signal processing systems (such as the adaptive linear combiner and the Kalman filter), and most recently, the reincarnation of nonlinear neural network models such as the multilayer perceptron. Each of these methods has its strengths and weaknesses. The curve and surface fitting techniques are excellent for off-line data analysis, but are typically not formulated with real-time applications in mind. The linear techniques of adaptive signal processing and adaptive control are well-characterized, but are limited to applications for which linear descriptions are appropriate. Finally, neural network learning models such as back propagation have proven extremely versatile at learning a wide variety of nonlinear mappings, but tend to be very slow computationally and are not yet well characterized.


Fast Learning in Multi-Resolution Hierarchies

Neural Information Processing Systems

A variety of approaches to adaptive information processing have been developed by workers in disparate disciplines. These include the large body of literature on approximation and interpolation techniques (curve and surface fitting), the linear, real-time adaptive signal processing systems (such as the adaptive linear combiner and the Kalman filter), and most recently, the reincarnation of nonlinear neural network models such as the multilayer perceptron. Each of these methods has its strengths and weaknesses. The curve and surface fitting techniques are excellent for off-line data analysis, but are typically not formulated withreal-time applications in mind. The linear techniques of adaptive signal processing and adaptive control are well-characterized, but are limited to applications forwhich linear descriptions are appropriate. Finally, neural network learning models such as back propagation have proven extremely versatile at learning a wide variety of nonlinear mappings, but tend to be very slow computationally and are not yet well characterized.