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This paper describes a practical framework for using multilayer feedforward neural networks to simultaneously fit both a function and its first derivatives. This framework involves two steps. The first step is to train the network to optimize a performance index, which includes both the error in fitting the function and the error in fitting the derivatives. The second step is to prune the network by removing neurons that cause overfitting and then to retrain it. This paper describes two novel types of overfitting that are only observed when simultaneously fitting both a function and its first derivatives. A new pruning algorithm is proposed to eliminate these types of overfitting. Experimental results show that the pruning algorithm successfully eliminates the overfitting and produces the smoothest responses and the best generalization among all the training algorithms that we have tested.
Date of Publication: June 2011