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Interest in hybrid methods that combine artificial neural networks and evolutionary algorithms has grown in the last few years, due to their robustness and ability to design networks by setting initial weight values, by searching the architecture and the learning rule and parameters. This paper presents an exhaustive analysis of the G-Prop method, and the different parameters the method requires (population size, selection rate, initial weight range, number of training epochs, etc.) are determined. The paper also the discusses the influence of the application of genetic operators on the precision (classification ability or error) and network size in classification problems. The significance and relative importance of the parameters with respect to the results obtained, as well as suitable values for each, were obtained using the ANOVA (analysis of the variance). Experiments show the significance of parameters concerning the neural network and learning in the hybrid methods. The parameters found using this method were used to compare the G-Prop method both to itself with other parameter settings, and to other published methods.
Date of Publication: Nov 2002