Friday, August 8, 2014

A Gentle Introduction to Backpropagation

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Neural networks have always fascinated me ever since I became aware of them in the 1990s. They are often represented with a hypnotizing array of connections. In the last decade, deep neural networks have dominated pattern recognition, often replacing other algorithms for applications like computer vision and voice recognition. At least in specialized tasks, they indeed come close to mimicking the miraculous feats of cognition our brains are capable of.

While neural networks are capable of such feats, the very discovery of a method of programming such a computational device seems to me to be a miraculous feat of cognition worthy of celebration. My purpose in writing this blog is to share my perspective on an amazing algorithm made widely known by a 1986 publication in Nature.

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