Bp Neural Network.

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Overview of BP Neural Network

The BP neural network is the most basic and widely used neural network in the field. It consists of three layers of nodes: the input layer, the hidden layer, and the output layer. The implementation of the BP neural network is relatively simple, mainly divided into two parts: forward propagation and backward propagation of errors.

The universal approximation theorem of neural networks states that a one-dimensional step function can approximate any one-dimensional continuous function, and a sigmoid function can approximate a step function. Therefore, a linear combination of one-dimensional sigmoid functions can approximate any continuous function. This provides a theoretical basis for the application of neural networks.

The advantage of neural networks lies in the fact that many complex function mappings that are difficult to solve can be obtained by combining multiple one-dimensional step functions. The main problem and difficulty in building a neural network is how to combine these one-dimensional functions.

Understanding BP Neural Network

The BP neural network can be seen as a multi-input multi-output function. If we ignore its internal structure, it can be represented as a black box model:

Black box model of BP neural network

In this BP neural network, there are \(m\) inputs and \(n\) outputs. We know that there should be a hidden layer between the input and output layers. So how many nodes should be in the hidden layer? Generally, the determination of the hidden layer is determined by the following empirical formula: \[ h=\sqrt{m+n}+a \] where \(h\) is the number of nodes in the hidden layer, \(m\) is the number of nodes in the input layer, \(n\) is the number of nodes in the output layer, and \(a\) is an adjustment constant.

Based on the number of input and output nodes, we can construct a simple BP neural network model. Its internal structure is as follows (taking \(m=3\), \(n=3\), and \(h=3\) as an example):

Internal structure of a three-layer neural network

With such a three-layer neural network, any 3D-to-3D mapping can be achieved through the combination of one-dimensional functions. So how to establish this mapping? This problem is actually how to train the BP neural network. The training process mainly consists of two parts: forward propagation of results and backward propagation of residuals.

Forward Propagation

For any node in the BP neural network, its input is the weighted sum of the outputs of the previous layer nodes. Taking the hidden layer as an example, let the output of the input layer node be \(x_i\), the input of the hidden layer node be \(net_j\), the weight connecting node \(i\) in the input layer to node \(j\) in the hidden layer be \(w_{ij}\), and the constant term be \(b_j\). Then the input of the hidden layer node is: \[ net_j=\sum_{i=1}^m w_{ij}x_i+b_j \] In the BP neural network, in order to ensure that the activation function is differentiable everywhere, the sigmoid function is used as the activation function. The output of the node is: \[ f(net_j)=\frac1{1+e^{-net_j}} \]

Advantages of using sigmoid function:

  1. Compared to the step function, it is differentiable everywhere in its domain.
  2. Let \(y=sigmoid(x)\), then \(y'=y(1-y)\). It can be seen that the derivative of the sigmoid function can be represented using itself. Once the value of the sigmoid function is calculated, it is very convenient to calculate the value of its derivative. This provides convenience for using gradient descent in backpropagation.

Main disadvantages of the sigmoid function:

  1. Vanishing gradient: Note that when the sigmoid function approaches 0 or 1, the rate of change becomes flat, which means that the gradient of the sigmoid tends to 0. Neurons in the network that use the sigmoid activation function and have outputs close to 0 or 1 are called saturated neurons. Therefore, the weights of these neurons will not be updated. In addition, the weights connected to these neurons will also be updated slowly. This problem is called the vanishing gradient problem. Therefore, imagine that if a large neural network contains sigmoid neurons, and many of them are in a saturated state, the network cannot perform backpropagation.

  2. Not zero-centered: The output of the sigmoid is not zero-centered.

  3. High computational cost: The exp() function has a higher computational cost compared to other nonlinear activation functions.

Sigmoid function

Each neuron performs this independent calculation, so for a set of inputs, the neural network can perform calculations to obtain the corresponding outputs. This is the process of forward propagation.

Backward Propagation

At the beginning, all the weights in the system are randomly determined. Therefore, in order to make the model tend to the desired result through learning training data, the weights in the nodes need to be continuously adjusted. The basic algorithm idea of backward propagation is the gradient descent algorithm in nonlinear programming, and the goal of the programming is to minimize the loss function. The general process is as follows:

  • Set the loss function. Assuming that all the results of the output layer are \(d_j\), the loss function is as follows:

\[ E(w,b)=\frac12\sum_{j=0}^{n-1}(d_j-y_j)^2 \]

  • Modify the \(w\) and \(b\) from the hidden layer to the output layer through the loss function. For the weight \(w_{ij}\) from the hidden layer node \(i\) to the output layer node \(j\), the modification is as follows (where \(\eta\) is the learning rate):

\[ \Delta w=-\eta\frac{\partial E}{\partial w_{ij}} \]

  • Similarly, the modification for \(b\) is:

\[ \Delta b=-\eta\frac{\partial E}{\partial b_{i}} \]

This is basically the idea. The process of calculating partial derivatives is quite complex, so I won't go into detail here. Just remember the idea of using gradient descent to minimize the loss function.


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[2] 东皇Amrzs. [整理] BP神经网络讲解——最好的版本[G/OL]. 简书: 2017.02.28[2020.04.22]. https://www.jianshu.com/p/3d96dbf3f764

[3] lx青萍之末. BP神经网络[G]. CSDN: 2018.07.20[2020.04.22]. https://blog.csdn.net/daaikuaichuan/article/details/81135802.