Fusing Output Information in Neural Networks: Ensemble Performs Better

TitleFusing Output Information in Neural Networks: Ensemble Performs Better
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsWu, Y., and J. I. Arribas
Conference NameAnnual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings
Conference LocationCancun
KeywordsAlgorithms, Backpropagation, Classification (of information), Computer simulation, Decision making, Estimation, Gaussian noise (electronic), Information fusions, Mathematical models, Medical imaging, Model selection, Multilayer neural networks, Neural network ensembles, Pattern recognition, Probability, Probability estimation, Problem solving, Regularization, Statistical methods, Statistical pattern recognition, Vectors

A neural network ensemble is a learning paradigm where a finite number of component neural networks are trained for the same task. Previous research suggests that an ensemble as a whole is often more accurate than any of the single component networks. This paper focuses on the advantages of fusing different nature network architectures, and to determine the appropriate information fusion algorithm in component neural networks by several approaches within hard decision classifiers, when solving a binary pattern recognition problem. We numerically simulated and compared the different fusion approaches in terms of the mean-square error rate in testing data set, over synthetically generated binary Gaussian noisy data, and stated the advantages of fusing the hard outputs of different component networks to make a final hard decision classification. The results of the experiments indicate that neural network ensembles can indeed improve the overall accuracy for classification problems; in all fusion architectures tested, the ensemble correct classification rates are better than those achieved by the individual component networks. Finally we are nowadays comparing the above mentioned hard decision classifiers with new soft decision classifier architectures that make use of the additional continuous type intermediate network soft outputs, fulfilling probability fundamental laws (positive, and add to unity), which can be understood as the a posteriori probabilities of a given pattern to belong to a certain class.