WW Marine Technologies is testing an artificial neural network to determine the optimal between successive hull washing operations, but what are precisely such networks?

Artificial neural networks (ANNs), also known as neural networks, are a subset of machine learning and are at the heart of deep learning algorithms. Their name and structure are inspired by the human brain, mimicking the way that biological neurons signal to one another.

Neural networks are comprised of node layers containing an input layer, one or more hidden layers, and an output layer. Each node, or artificial neuron, connects to another and has an associated weight and threshold. If the output of any individual node is above the specified threshold value, that node is activated, sending data to the next layer of the network. Otherwise, no data is passed along to the next layer of the network.

Neural networks rely on training data to learn and improve their accuracy over time. However, once these learning algorithms are fine-tuned for accuracy, they are powerful tools in computer science and artificial intelligence, allowing us to classify and cluster data at a high velocity.

Neural networks can be classified into different types used for different purposes. While this isn’t a comprehensive list of types, the below would be representative of the most common types of neural networks that you’ll come across for their common use cases:

The perceptron is the oldest neural network, created by Frank Rosenblatt in 1958. It has a single neuron and is the simplest form of a neural network:

Feedforward neural networks, or multi-layer perceptrons (MLPs), are what we’ve primarily been focusing on within this article. They are comprised of an input layer, a hidden layer or layers, and an output layer. While these neural networks are also commonly referred to as MLPs, it’s important to note that they are actually comprised of sigmoid neurons, not perceptrons, as most real-world problems are nonlinear. Data usually is fed into these models to train them, and they are the foundation for computer vision, natural language processing, and other neural networks.

Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are similar to feedforward networks, but they’re usually utilized for image recognition, pattern recognition, and/or computer vision. These networks harness principles from linear algebra, particularly matrix multiplication, to identify patterns within an image.

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) are identified by their feedback loops. These learning algorithms are primarily leveraged when using time-series data to make predictions about future outcomes, such as stock market predictions or sales forecasting.



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