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    What is Backpropagation: Most Important Block of Neural Networks

    Neural networks are the core of all deep learning applications that have infiltrated our lives. You owe a thank you to these networks if you’re a fan of Siri, Tesla, or ChatGPT. But, training them requires a lot of data and a lot of tweaking. This makes backpropagation the most crucial part of any neural network. So, what is backpropagation?

    What Is Backpropagation? 

    Backpropagation is an algorithm that tests for errors working backward from output nodes to input nodes. It is a key mathematical function for increasing models’ prediction in data mining and machine learning.

    There are two main types of backpropagation networks:

    • Static backpropagation: It’s an algorithm developed to map static inputs for static outputs.
    • Recurrent backpropagation: It’s an algorithm that is fed forward until a fixed value is reached. Then users compute the and propagate it backward. 

    The difference between these two is that the static is immediate while the recurrent takes more time. 

    Backpropagation in Neural Networks

    A neural network consists of multiple layers of neurons connected through channels. We’ve already explained in detail how a neural network works, but here’s a quick recap. 

    For the information to pass from one layer to another, the weighted sum of neurons plus the biases are processed through an activation function. The latter is a mathematical function that determines whether a neuron fires or not. When we receive the final result, we calculate the error and our goal is to minimize this error. The error is expressed through the cost function below:Cost Function

    Moreover, in this case, backpropagation, or backward propagation of errors, is the process of changing the weights and biases and feeding them back to the neural network to optimize it. It refers to modifying parameters to reduce the network’s error. 

    The weights and biases are modified based on the gradient descent algorithm. It’s a standard optimization algorithm that refers to changing the parameters for the cost function to reach the lowest point of the slope indicating minimal error. Gradient Descent

    So, in short:

    1. Train the model by feeding it data through the first layer. The data will move in a forward direction from the input layer towards the output layer. 
    2. Calculate the error. 
    3. Adjust weights and biases and feed them backward to the network to improve its accuracy (backpropagation).

    How Backpropagation Works

    Advantages

    • User-friendly and easy to use
    • Standard process that usually works very well 
    • Fast
    • Highly adaptable and efficient
    • No need to learn any special functions or have prior knowledge about the network

    Disadvantages

    • Backpropagation depends on the input data
    • Sensitive to data noise

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