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This paper develops a new dynamic programming based direct computation Hopfield method for solving short term unit commitment (UC) problems of thermal generators. The proposed two step process uses a direct computation Hopfield neural network to generate economic dispatch (ED). Then using dynamic programming (DP) the generator schedule is produced. The method employs a linear input-output model for neurons. Formulations for solving the UC problems are explored. Through the application of these formulations, direct computation instead of iterations for solving the problems becomes possible. However, it has been found that the UC problem cannot be tackled accurately within the framework of the conventional Hopfield network. Not like the usual Hopfield methods which select the weighting factors of the energy function by trials, the proposed method determines the corresponding factor using formulation calculation. Hence, it is relatively easy to apply the proposed method. The effectiveness of the developed method is identified through its application to 10 and 20 unit systems.