Introduction to Feed-Forward Neural Network in Deep Learning

Pranshu Sharma 08 Feb, 2024 • 7 min read

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.

A Feed Forward Neural Network is an artificial Neural Network in which the nodes are connected circularly. A feed-forward neural network, in which some routes are cycled, is the polar opposite of a Recurrent Neural Network. The feed-forward model is the basic type of neural network because the input is only processed in one direction. The data always flows in one direction and never backwards/opposite.

Feed Forward Neural Networks
Source: Medium

The Neural Network advanced from the perceptron, a prominent machine learning algorithm. Frank Rosenblatt, a physicist, invented perceptrons in the 1950s and 1960s, based on earlier work by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts.

Why are Neural Networks used?

Neural Networks are a type of function that connects inputs with outputs. In theory, neural networks should be able to estimate any sort of function, no matter how complex it is. Nonetheless, supervised learning entails learning a function that translates a given X to a specified Y and then utilising that function to determine the proper Y for a fresh X. If that’s the case, how do neural networks differ from typical machine learning methods? Inductive Bias, a psychological phenomenon, is the answer. The phrase may appear to be fresh. However, before applying a machine learning model to it, it is nothing more than our assumptions about the relationship between X and Y.

The linear relationship between X and Y is the Inductive Bias of linear regression. As a result, it fits the data to a line or a hyperplane.

When there is a non-linear and complex relationship between X and Y, nevertheless, a Linear Regression method may struggle to predict Y. To approximate that relationship, we may need a curve or a multi-dimensional curve in this scenario.

However, depending on the function’s complexity, we may need to manually set the number of neurons in each layer and the total number of layers in the network. This is usually accomplished through trial and error methods as well as experience. As a result, these parameters are referred to as hyperparameters.

Neural Network Architecture and Operation

Before we look at why neural networks work, it’s important to understand what neural networks do. Before we can grasp the design of a neural network, we must first understand what a neuron performs.

A weight is assigned to each input to an artificial neuron. First, the inputs are multiplied by their weights, and then a bias is applied to the outcome. After that, the weighted sum is passed via an activation function, being a non-linear function.

Artificial Neural Network

 

Source: TowardsDatascience

A weight is being applied to each input to an artificial neuron. First, the inputs are multiplied by their weights, and then a bias is applied to the outcome. This is called the weighted sum. After that, the weighted sum is processed via an activation function, as a non-linear function.

The first layer is the input layer, which appears to have six neurons but is only the data that is sent into the neural network. The output layer is the final layer. The dataset and the type of challenge determine the number of neurons in the final layer and the first layer. Trial and error will be used to determine the number of neurons in the hidden layers and the number of hidden layers.

All of the inputs from the previous layer will be connected to the first neuron from the first hidden layer. The second neuron in the first hidden layer will be connected to all of the preceding layer’s inputs, and so forth for all of the first hidden layer’s neurons. The outputs of the previously hidden layer are regarded inputs for neurons in the second hidden layer, and each of these neurons is coupled to all of the preceding neurons.

What is a Feed-Forward Neural Network and how does it work?

In its most basic form, a Feed-Forward Neural Network is a single layer perceptron. A sequence of inputs enter the layer and are multiplied by the weights in this model. The weighted input values are then summed together to form a total. If the sum of the values is more than a predetermined threshold, which is normally set at zero, the output value is usually 1, and if the sum is less than the threshold, the output value is usually -1. The single-layer perceptron is a popular feed-forward neural network model that is frequently used for classification. Single-layer perceptrons can also contain machine learning features.

Feed-Foward Network

 

Source: Medium.com

The neural network can compare the outputs of its nodes with the desired values using a property known as the delta rule, allowing the network to alter its weights through training to create more accurate output values. This training and learning procedure results in gradient descent. The technique of updating weights in multi-layered perceptrons is virtually the same, however, the process is referred to as back-propagation. In such circumstances, the output values provided by the final layer are used to alter each hidden layer inside the network.

Python Implementation

 Representing the feed-forward neural network using Python

Let us create the respective sample weights which are to be applied in the input layer, the first & the second hidden layer

import numpy as np
from sklearn import datasets
#
# Generate a dataset and plot it
#
np.random.seed(0)
X, y = datasets.make_moons(200, noise=0.20)
#
# Neural network architecture
# No of nodes in input layer = 4
# No of nodes in output layer = 3
# No of nodes in the hidden layer = 6
#
input_dim = 4 # input layer dimensionality
output_dim = 3 # output layer dimensionality
hidden_dim = 6 # hidden layer dimensionality
#
# Weights and bias element for layer 1
# These weights are applied for calculating
# weighted sum arriving at neurons in 1st hidden layer
#
W1 = np.random.randn(input_dim, hidden_dim)
b1 = np.zeros((1, hidden_dim))
#
# Weights and bias element for layer 2
# These weights are applied for calculating
# weighted sum arriving at neurons in 2nd hidden layer
#
W2 = np.random.randn(hidden_dim, hidden_dim)
b2 = np.zeros((1, hidden_dim))
#
# Weights and bias element for layer 2
# These weights are applied for calculating
# weighted sum arriving at in the final / output layer
#
W3 = np.random.randn(hidden_dim, output_dim)
b3 = np.zeros((1, output_dim))

Python code implementation for the propagation of the input signal through different layers towards the output layer

#
# Forward propagation of input signals
# to 6 neurons in first hidden layer
# activation is calculated based tanh function
#
z1 = X.dot(W1) + b1
a1 = np.tanh(z1)
#
# Forward propagation of activation signals from first hidden layer
# to 6 neurons in second hidden layer
# activation is calculated based tanh function
#
z2 = a1.dot(W2) + b2
a2 = np.tanh(z2)
#
# Forward propagation of activation signals from second hidden layer
# to 3 neurons in output layer
#
z3 = a2.dot(W3) + b3
#
# Probability is calculated as an output
# of softmax function
#
probs = np.exp(z3) / np.sum(np.exp(z3), axis=1, keepdims=True)

Why does this Strategy Work?

As we’ve seen, the function of each neurone in the network is similar to that of linear regression. The neuron also has an activation function at the end, and each neuron has its weight vector.

Strategy Work | Feed-Foward Network

Source: Medium.com

We’ve seen how the computation works so far. But the major purpose of this blog is to explain why this strategy works. Neural networks should theoretically be able to estimate any continuous function, no matter how complex or non-linear it is.

Importance of the Non-Linearity

When two or more linear objects, such as a line, plane, or hyperplane, are combined, the outcome is also a linear object: line, plane, or hyperplane. No matter how many of these linear things we add, we’ll still end up with a linear object.

However, this is not the case when adding non-linear objects. When two separate curves are combined, the result is likely to be a more complex curve.

We’re introducing non-linearity at every layer using these activation functions, in addition to just adding non-linear objects or hyper-curves like hyperplanes. In other words, we’re applying a nonlinear function on an already nonlinear object.

What if activation functions were not used in neural networks?

Suppose if neural networks didn’t have an activation function, they’d just be a huge linear unit that a single linear regression model could easily replace.

a = m*x + d

Z= k*a + t => k*(m*x+d) + t => k*m*x + k*d + t => (k*m)*x + (k*c+t)

Applications of the Feed Forward Neural Networks

A Feed Forward Neural Network is an artificial neural network in which the nodes are connected circularly. A feed-forward neural network, in which some routes are cycled, is the polar opposite of a recurrent neural network. The feed-forward model is the simplest type of neural network because the input is only processed in one direction. The data always flows in one direction and never backwards, regardless of how many buried nodes it passes through.

Conclusion

In this article, we covered the basic Introduction to Feed-Forward Neural Networks and their basic implementation in Python. We also covered their workings, architecture, and applications in real-world scenarios. Read more articles on our blog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is feed-forward vs deep feed-forward?

A. Feed-forward refers to a neural network architecture where information flows in one direction, from input to output, with no feedback loops. Deep feed-forward, commonly known as a deep neural network, consists of multiple hidden layers between input and output layers, enabling the network to learn complex hierarchical features and patterns, enhancing its ability to model intricate relationships in data.

Q2. What is feed-forward vs feedback neural network?

A. Feed-forward neural networks transmit data in one direction—from input to output—without feedback loops, making them suitable for tasks like pattern recognition and classification. Feedback neural networks, on the other hand, incorporate feedback connections, allowing output to affect subsequent processing. Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) are a common type of feedback network, useful for sequential data tasks like language modeling, where context matters.

Hope you liked my article on the feed-foward network? Please share in the comments below.

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Pranshu Sharma 08 Feb 2024

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M. Sudhakara 17 Jul, 2023

A Feed Forward Neural Network is an artificial neural network in which the nodes are connected circularly

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