[ Sharing ]  What is Convolutional Neural Network (CNN)?

What is Convolutional Neural Network (CNN)?

  By : Leadtek AI Expert     398

A Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) is a type of deep learning network primarily used for recognizing and classifying images, as well as identifying objects within images.

1. What is a Convolutional Neural Network?

Artificial Neural Networks mimic the operation of neurons in the human brain, and Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) typically apply variants of multilayer perceptrons (algorithms for classifying visual input content) in multiple fully connected or pooling convolutional layers.

The learning process of CNN is similar to that of humans. When humans are born, they don't know what a cat or a bird looks like. As we grow and mature, we learn that certain shapes and colors correspond to certain elements, and these elements together form an object. After learning the appearance of claws and beaks, we can better distinguish between cats and birds.

The basic working principle of neural networks is similar. By processing a labeled training set of images, machines can learn to identify elements, i.e., features of objects in the images.

CNN is a popular type of deep learning algorithm. Convolution involves applying a filter to the input content, resulting in activations represented in numerical form. By repeatedly applying the same filter to an image, an activation map called a feature map is generated. This indicates the position and intensity of detected features.

Convolution is a linear operation that involves multiplying a set of weights with the input to generate a two-dimensional weight array called a filter. Adjusting the filter to detect specific feature types in the input allows the repeated use of that filter throughout the entire input image to discover features at any position.

For example, one filter may be used to detect curves of a specific shape, another for detecting vertical lines, and a third for detecting horizontal lines. Other filters can detect color, edges, and light intensity. Combining the outputs of multiple filters can represent complex shapes matching known elements in the training data.

CNNs typically consist of three layers: input layer, output layer, and a hidden layer containing multiple convolutional layers, where the hidden layer includes pooling, fully connected, and normalization layers.

The first layer is usually used to capture basic features like edges, colors, gradient directions, and basic geometric shapes. With added layers, the model fills in advanced features that gradually determine a large brown block, first being a vehicle, then a car, then a specific brand like Buick.

Pooling layers gradually reduce the spatial size of the representation, improving computational efficiency. Pooling layers operate independently on each feature map, with commonly used methods such as max pooling capturing the maximum value in an array to reduce the number of values requiring computation. Stacking convolutional layers allows the decomposition of the input into its basic elements.

Normalization layers regulate data to improve the performance and stability of neural networks. These layers transform all inputs to have a mean of 0 and a variance of 1, making the inputs of each layer more manageable.

Fully connected layers connect each neuron in one layer to every neuron in another layer.

2. Why Choose Convolutional Neural Networks?

Neural networks have three basic types:

  • Multi-layer perceptrons excel at processing labeled inputs for classification predictions and are flexible networks applicable to various scenarios, including image recognition.
  • Time-recurrent neural networks are optimized for sequence prediction problems, interpreting time series data but are ineffective for image analysis.
  • Convolutional Neural Networks are specifically designed to map image data to output variables, excelling at uncovering internal representations of two-dimensional images for learning spatially invariant structures. This makes them particularly adept at handling data with spatially related components.

CNNs have become the preferred model for many advanced computer vision applications such as facial recognition, handwriting recognition, and text digitization. In 2012, CNNs saw a breakthrough when graduate student Alex Krizhevsky from the University of Toronto used a CNN model to reduce classification errors from 26% to 15% in the ImageNet competition, shocking the field at that time.

In applications involving image processing, CNN models consistently deliver outstanding results and high computational efficiency. While CNN models are not the only deep learning models suitable for this field, they are a common choice and are expected to remain a focus of continuous innovation in the future.

Key Use Cases:

CNNs are currently the go-to image processors for object recognition in machine learning. They serve as the eyes in fields such as autonomous vehicles, petroleum exploration, and fusion energy research. In medical imaging, they can help detect diseases quickly, potentially saving lives.

Thanks to CNNs and Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs), various AI-driven machines now possess capabilities akin to human vision. With decades of development in the field of deep neural networks and significant advancements in GPU high-performance computing for handling massive data, most AI applications have become feasible.

3. Significance of Convolutional Neural Networks

Data Science Teams:

Image recognition has a broad application scope, making it a core competency for many data science teams. CNNs serve as a mature standard, providing a skill baseline for data science teams to learn and master these skills to meet current and future image processing needs.

Data Engineering Teams:

Engineers understanding the data needed for CNN processing can proactively meet organizational requirements. With datasets adopting standardized formats and engineers learning from abundant public datasets, the process of deploying deep learning algorithms into production is simplified.

4. Accelerating Convolutional Neural Networks with GPU

Advanced neural networks may have millions or even billions of parameters requiring adjustment through backpropagation. Additionally, they require extensive training data for higher accuracy, meaning thousands or even millions of input samples must undergo forward and backward propagation simultaneously. As neural networks are built with many identical neurons, they inherently exhibit high parallelism. This parallelism naturally maps to GPUs, resulting in significantly faster computation compared to relying solely on CPUs for training.

Through deep learning frameworks, researchers can easily create and explore Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and other deep neural networks (DNNs) at speeds required for experimentation and industrial deployment. NVIDIA's Deep Learning SDK accelerates widely used deep learning frameworks such as Caffe, CNTK, TensorFlow, Theano, and Torch, along with many other machine learning applications. Deep learning frameworks run faster on GPUs and can scale across multiple GPUs within a single node.

To combine frameworks with GPUs for training and inference processes of Convolutional Neural Networks, NVIDIA provides cuDNN and TensorRT. cuDNN and TensorRT significantly optimize the implementation of standard routines such as convolution layers, pooling layers, normalization layers, and activation layers.

For rapid development and deployment of visual models, NVIDIA offers the DeepStream SDK for visual AI developers, along with the TAO Toolkit for computer vision, aiding in the creation of accurate and efficient AI models.

5. Leadtek AI Solutions

System planning, software integration, AI development project collaboration, maintenance services, GPU technical services – Leadtek AI Solutions provide a one-stop solution for AI system and software construction.

*The copyright for images or videos (in whole or in part) related to NVIDIA products belongs to NVIDIA Corporation.
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