Definition

convolutional neural network

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A convolutional neural network (CNN) is a type of artificial neural network used in image recognition and processing that is specifically designed to process pixel data.

CNNs are powerful image processing, artificial intelligence (AI) that use deep learning to perform both generative and descriptive tasks, often using machine vison that includes image and video recognition, along with recommender systems and natural language processing (NLP).

A neural network is a system of hardware and/or software patterned after the operation of neurons in the human brain. Traditional neural networks are not ideal for image processing and must be fed images in reduced-resolution pieces. CNN have their “neurons” arranged more like those of the frontal lobe, the area responsible for processing visual stimuli in humans and other animals. The layers of neurons are arranged in such a way as to cover the entire visual field avoiding the piecemeal image processing problem of traditional neural networks.

A CNN uses a system much like a multilayer perceptron that has been designed for reduced processing requirements. The layers of a CNN consist of an input layer, an output layer and a hidden layer that includes multiple convolutional layers, pooling layers, fully connected layers and normalization layers. The removal of limitations and increase in efficiency for image processing results in a system that is far more effective, simpler to trains limited for image processing and natural language processing.     

This was last updated in April 2018

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