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slideshow tutorial is Appendix 1 of Shultz and Bale (2001). Before proceeding with this slideshow, it is
recommended that you watch the slideshow A Tutorial on Cascade-correlation, if you have not
yet seen that more general introduction.
networks can implement a kind of recognition memory, as would be appropriate for simulation of habituation and familiarization studies. If an encoder network can
learn to encode a stimulus onto a small
number of hidden units and then decode this hidden unit representation onto its output units with very little error,
then it has recognized the stimulus as
The essential change from
ordinary cascade-correlation (CC) is the elimination
of any direct input-to-output unit connection weights. If such direct connections are retained, then learning an
encoder problem is trivial, requiring only
a weight of 1.0 between each input unit
and its corresponding output unit. With such a trivial solution, a network learns nothing useful that could
enable such phenomena as pattern
completion or prototype abstraction.
As usual, CC
training begins in an output phase with no hidden units. But with the encoder option, the only available
weights are from the bias unit. Trainable
connection weights are drawn in this slideshow
as dashed arrows. Initially, the weights have random values, generating random performance. Weights are
adjusted to reduce discrepancy (error)
between the input and output vectors. Error
reduction typically stagnates quickly in this first output phase with the encoder option because the network is taking
no account of variation in input patterns.
The bias unit always has an input
activation of 1.0, regardless of the input
pattern being presented. With trainable connection weights to all downstream units, the bias unit
implements a learnable resting activation
level for each downstream unit.
exception of the lack of direct input-output connections, training proceeds as in normal cascade-correlation.
When error reduction stagnates, a hidden
unit is recruited. As the first hidden unit
is added, its input weights are frozen (shown in solid arrows), and training of the output weights resumes. The network
is growing as it learns.
hidden unit, if required, is installed downstream of the first hidden unit. After each hidden unit is recruited,
training of output weights resumes.
With a relatively small number of hidden units, an encoder
network is forced to achieve a
relatively compact, and thus abstract, representation
of the inputs. Inputs are encoded onto this abstract hidden-unit representation using input-side weights. The
hidden unit representation is
then decoded onto the output units using output-side
weights. Because the discrepancy between input and output activations constitutes network error, there is a sense
in which encoder networks do not require any
external feedback other than the training
Shultz, T. R., & Bale, A. C. (2001). Neural network simulation of infant
familiarization to artificial sentences: Rule-like behavior without
explicit rules and variables. Infancy, 2, 501-536.