Thursday, May 05, 2011

Number of Hidden Layer Neurons to Use

In the Artificial Neural Networks group, a question arose about how many hidden neurons one should choose. I've never found a fully satisfactory answer to this, but there is quite a lot of guesses and rules of thumb out there.

I've always like Warren Sarle's neural network FAQ that includes a discussion on this topic.

There is another reference on the web that I agree with only about 50%, but the references are excellent:

My personal preference is to use software that experiments with multiple architectures and selects the one that performs best on held-out data. Better still are the algorithms that also select (i.e. prune) inputs as well. As I teach in my courses, I've spent far too many hours in my life selection neural network architectures and re-training, so I'd much rather let the software do it for me.