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As is well known in statistics, the resulting linear regressors by using the rank-based Wilcoxon approach to linear regression problems are usually robust against (or insensitive to) outliers. This motivates us to introduce in this paper the Wilcoxon approach to the area of machine learning. Specifically, we investigate four new learning machines, namely Wilcoxon neural network (WNN), Wilcoxon generalized radial basis function network (WGRBFN), Wilcoxon fuzzy neural network (WFNN), and kernel-based Wilcoxon regressor (KWR). These provide alternative learning machines when faced with general nonlinear learning problems. Simple weights updating rules based on gradient descent will be derived. Some numerical examples will be provided to compare the robustness against outliers for various learning machines. Simulation results show that the Wilcoxon learning machines proposed in this paper have good robustness against outliers. We firmly believe that the Wilcoxon approach will provide a promising methodology for many machine learning problems.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2008