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Too Large a Learning Rate

A linear neuron is trained to find the minimum error solution for a simple problem. The neuron is trained with the learning rate larger than the one suggested by MAXLINLR.

X defines two 1-element input patterns (column vectors). T defines associated 1-element targets (column vectors).

X = [+1.0 -1.2];
T = [+0.5 +1.0];

ERRSURF calculates errors for a neuron with a range of possible weight and bias values. PLOTES plots this error surface with a contour plot underneath. The best weight and bias values are those that result in the lowest point on the error surface.

w_range = -2:0.4:2;
b_range = -2:0.4:2;
ES = errsurf(X,T,w_range,b_range,'purelin');

MAXLINLR finds the fastest stable learning rate for training a linear network. NEWLIN creates a linear neuron. To see what happens when the learning rate is too large, increase the learning rate to 225% of the recommended value. NEWLIN takes these arguments: 1) Rx2 matrix of min and max values for R input elements, 2) Number of elements in the output vector, 3) Input delay vector, and 4) Learning rate.

maxlr = maxlinlr(X,'bias');
net = newlin([-2 2],1,[0],maxlr*2.25);

Override the default training parameters by setting the maximum number of epochs. This ensures that training will stop:

net.trainParam.epochs = 20;

To show the path of the training we will train only one epoch at a time and call PLOTEP every epoch (code not shown here). The plot shows a history of the training. Each dot represents an epoch and the blue lines show each change made by the learning rule (Widrow-Hoff by default).

%[net,tr] = train(net,X,T);                                                    
net.trainParam.epochs = 1; = NaN;
[net,tr] = train(net,X,T);                                                    
r = tr;
epoch = 1;
while epoch < 20
   epoch = epoch+1;
   [net,tr] = train(net,X,T);
   if length(tr.epoch) > 1
      h = plotep(net.IW{1,1},net.b{1},tr.perf(2),h);
      r.epoch=[r.epoch epoch]; 
      r.perf=[r.perf tr.perf(2)];
      r.vperf=[r.vperf NaN];
      r.tperf=[r.tperf NaN];


The train function outputs the trained network and a history of the training performance (tr). Here the errors are plotted with respect to training epochs.


We can now use SIM to test the associator with one of the original inputs, -1.2, and see if it returns the target, 1.0. The result is not very close to 0.5! This is because the network was trained with too large a learning rate.

x = -1.2;
y = net(x)
y = 2.0913