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J Microbiol Methods. 2000 Dec 1;43(1):3-31.

Artificial neural networks: fundamentals, computing, design, and application.

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Engineering Service Center, The Headquarters Transportation Laboratory, CalTrans, Sacramento, CA 95819, USA.


Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are relatively new computational tools that have found extensive utilization in solving many complex real-world problems. The attractiveness of ANNs comes from their remarkable information processing characteristics pertinent mainly to nonlinearity, high parallelism, fault and noise tolerance, and learning and generalization capabilities. This paper aims to familiarize the reader with ANN-based computing (neurocomputing) and to serve as a useful companion practical guide and toolkit for the ANNs modeler along the course of ANN project development. The history of the evolution of neurocomputing and its relation to the field of neurobiology is briefly discussed. ANNs are compared to both expert systems and statistical regression and their advantages and limitations are outlined. A bird's eye review of the various types of ANNs and the related learning rules is presented, with special emphasis on backpropagation (BP) ANNs theory and design. A generalized methodology for developing successful ANNs projects from conceptualization, to design, to implementation, is described. The most common problems that BPANNs developers face during training are summarized in conjunction with possible causes and remedies. Finally, as a practical application, BPANNs were used to model the microbial growth curves of S. flexneri. The developed model was reasonably accurate in simulating both training and test time-dependent growth curves as affected by temperature and pH.

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