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Evolution of modular neural networks

Landassuri Moreno, Victor Manuel (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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It is well known that the human brain is highly modular, having a structural and functional organization that allows the different regions of the brain to be reused for different cognitive processes. So far, this has not been fully addressed by artificial systems, and a better understanding of when and how modules emerge is required, with a broad framework indicating how modules could be reused within neural networks.
This thesis provides a deep investigation of module formation, module communication (interaction) and module reuse during evolution for a variety of classification and prediction tasks. The evolutionary algorithm EPNet is used to deliver the evolution of artificial neural networks. In the first stage of this study, the EPNet algorithm is carefully studied to understand its basis and to ensure confidence in its behaviour. Thereafter, its input feature selection (required for module evolution) is optimized, showing the robustness of the improved algorithm compared with the fixed input case and previous publications. Then module emergence, communication and reuse are investigated with the modular EPNet (M-EPNet) algorithm, which uses the information provided by a modularity measure to implement new mutation operators that favour the evolution of modules, allowing a new perspective for analyzing modularity, module formation and module reuse during evolution.
The results obtained extend those of previous work, indicating that pure-modular architectures may emerge at low connectivity values, where similar tasks may share (reuse) common neural elements creating compact representations, and that the more different two tasks are, the bigger the modularity obtained during evolution. Other results indicate that some neural structures may be reused when similar tasks are evolved, leading to module interaction during evolution.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Bullinaria, John A
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Computing Sciences
Subjects:Q Science (General)
QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3243
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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