The first
framework for the growing neural networks is similar to the genetic algorithm
framework, which was proposed in section 7.2 and will
be further referred to as parallel growing neural network framework. The framework,
which is presented in figure 53, can be divided
into three steps. The first step consists of multiple parallel runs of the growing
neural network algorithm with different training and monitor data subsets. When
all networks have finished growing, the variables are ranked according to the
frequency of being used in the different networks. In the second step, the algorithm
builds the final neural network in an iterative procedure by adding the variables
according to their rank step by step to a fully connected neural network. During
each step, the performance of the neural network is evaluated by the use of
different training and test data subsets. The iterative algorithm stops when
the addition of the next variable does not improve the predictions of the test
data subsets any more. As the number of hidden variables (organized in 1 hidden
layer) is determined by the mean number of hidden variables of the networks
built during the first step, the third step of the growing neural net framework,
which only trains the final network with the complete calibration data set,
is less complicated than the third step of the genetic algorithm framework.

The second
framework is based on loops using the knowledge of previous runs of the growing
algorithm and will be further referred to as loop-based framework. The concept
is illustrated in figure 54. Several parallel runs
of the growing neural network algorithm are performed using different random
initial weights but the same data subsets for training, monitoring and selection.
The network showing the best prediction of the data subset for selection is
used as initial network for the growing algorithm of the next loop cycle. Thereby
the algorithm starts not with an empty neural network but with the selected
built network and new subsets of the data for training, monitoring and selection.
This procedure is repeated, until the selected network has the same topology
than the network selected in the previous loop cycle.

In
both frameworks, the complete calibration data set has to be split several
times into subsets for training, monitoring, testing and selection. Similar to
the genetic algorithm framework, this was performed by a random subsampling
procedure.

figure 53: Flow chart of the parallel
growing neural network framework.

figure 54:
Flow chart of the loop-based growing neural network framework.

According
to the introduction to the network optimization in section
2.8.2, both frameworks follow different strategies. The parallel framework
only uses the variable selection property of the growing neural networks ignoring
the information of the inner topology of the grown networks. This framework
is suitable for the implementation on massive parallel computer systems as there
are only few nodes for information exchange. A high number of parallel runs
of the algorithm allows a variable selection practically independent from the
partitioning of the data set. The second framework uses the possibility of the
algorithm to build non-uniform neural networks with an optimized internal topology
adapted for a specific problem. In contrast to the first framework, this framework
is less suitable for parallel computer systems and less partitions of the data
set are used, since the algorithm typically stops after several loop cycles.