Title page for ETD etd-08282008-174737

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van der Stockt, Stefan Aloysius Gert
Email stefanvd@za.ibm.com
URN etd-08282008-174737
Document Title A generic neural network framework using design patterns
Degree MSc
Department Computer Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof A P Engelbrecht Supervisor
  • computational intelligence
  • software engineering
  • design pattern
  • incremental learning
  • sensitivity analysis
  • taxonomy
  • SAILA algorithm
  • neural network library
  • CILib
  • artificial neural network
  • artificial intelligence
Date 2008-04-23
Availability unrestricted

Designing object-oriented software is hard, and designing reusable object-oriented software is even harder. This task is even more daunting for a developer of computational intelligence applications, as optimising one design objective tends to make others inefficient or even impossible. Classic examples in computer science include ‘storage vs. time’ and ‘simplicity vs. flexibility.’ Neural network requirements are by their very nature very tightly coupled – a required design change in one area of an existing application tends to have severe effects in other areas, making the change impossible or inefficient. Often this situation leads to a major redesign of the system and in many cases a completely rewritten application. Many commercial and open-source packages do exist, but these cannot always be extended to support input from other fields of computational intelligence due to proprietary reasons or failing to fully take all design requirements into consideration.

Design patterns make a science out of writing software that is modular, extensible and efficient as well as easy to read and understand. The essence of a design pattern is to avoid repeatedly solving the same design problem from scratch by reusing a solution that solves the core problem. This pattern or template for the solution has well understood prerequisites, structure, properties, behaviour and consequences. CILib is a framework that allows developers to develop new computational intelligence applications quickly and efficiently. Flexibility, reusability and clear separation between components are maximised through the use of design patterns. Reliability is also ensured as the framework is open source and thus has many people that collaborate to ensure that the framework is well designed and error free.

This dissertation discusses the design and implementation of a generic neural network framework that allows users to design, implement and use any possible neural network models and algorithms in such a way that they can reuse and be reused by any other computational intelligence algorithm in the rest of the framework, or any external applications. This is achieved by using object-oriented design patterns in the design of the framework.

© University of Pretoria 2007

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