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Simple, fully connected, feed forward, deep NN built from scratch in C++
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Neuron is a simple neural network, built from scratch in C++. It is not optimized in any way and 'from scratch' means it doesn't use the math.h C library, so I would recommend against using it for anything serious.

Hello World Example

You can initialize a network object that has a specified amount of hidden layers and a specified layer size:

#include <iostream>
#include "network.h"

int main() {

  // Init a network with N hidden layers of size HIDDEN, an input size of IN and an
  // output size of OUT (<N, IN, OUT, HIDDEN>). Initialize to random values between +/-5.
  neuron::Network<float, 1, 2, 1, 3> *net = new neuron::Network<float, 1, 2, 1, 3>(5);

  // We will train this to evaluate an X-OR
  float train[4][2] = {
    {0, 0},
    {0, 1},
    {1, 0},
    {1, 1}
  float target[4][1] = {{0},{1},{1},{0}};
  float *res;

  // Heuristic gradient descend
  for (int i = 0, n; i < 5e4; i ++) {
    res = net->run(train[i % 4]);
    net->backprop(target[i % 4], 0.4);

  // Print a human readable network to the console
  std::cout << std::endl;

  // Show us what you got...
  for (int i = 0; i < 4; i ++) {
    res = net->run(train[i]);
    std::cout << "Case {" <<train[i][0]<<", "<<train[i][1]<< "}: " << *res << " (should be " << target[i][0] << ")" << std::endl;

  return 0;

The above example can be found at helloworld.cpp and compiled with g++ helloworld.cpp network.cpp -o hello (assuming you want to use the GNU compiler).

The Network Class

To use neuron, include the "network.h" header in your C++ file. The Network class is a template accessible from the namespace neuron and offers the following api:

Template Parameters

The template parameters determine the size of the network.

neuron::Network<typename numeric_type, int number_of_hidden_layers, int input_size, int output_size, int hidden_size>

neuron::Network<float, 2, 2, 1, 4>

The above example creates a network with two hidden layers of size 4 that takes two inputs and has one output.

Runtime Configuration

You can tell a network to exclude bias or the use of it's activation function.

network->use_activation = false; // Default is true
network->use_bias = false; // Default is true

Run and Backprop

The network can be executed on an array input. The input is expected to be of the correct size. As an output, the network returns a pointer that point to consecutive numbers of the networks numeric type.

float input[3] = {1, 2, 3};
float *result;

result = network->run(input);

for (i = 0; i < output_size; i ++) {
  std::cout << result[i] << std::endl;

After the network has run, you can call backprop() to execute a gradient descend step. Calling backprop() before running the network at least once is undefined behavior.

float target[3] = {1, 2, 3};
float learning_rate = 0.4;

network->backprop(target, learning_rate);

When you call run several times, the values held by the previously returned pointers will be overwritten.

Print and Dump

You can print the networks learned vales to the console. Print prints a human-readable output, while dump generates an output that is formatted as C++ array literals for easy copy-pasting.



Neuron is very simple, so all it can do is heuristic gradient descend, using a batch size of one. On the plus side, training has a friendly memory footprint. To train a network, call the backprop() function on your network object after calling run() on the appropriate training example:

float learning_rate = 0.1;

float input[]  = {1, 2, ...};
float target[] = {1, 2, ...};

net->backprop(target, learning_rate);


Neuron implements a simple NN with a variable number hidden layers, which are fully connected and all have the same size. It uses a sigmoid as it's activation function. All hidden layers have a bias and the activation function is applied for all layers with the exclusion of the output layer.

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