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The Hopfield neural network (HNN) has been widely used in numerous different optimization problems since the early 1980s. The convergence speed of the HNN (already in high gain) eventually plays a critical role in various real-time applications. In this brief, we propose and analyze a generalized HNN which drastically improves the convergence speed of the network, and thus allows benefiting from the HNN capabilities in solving the optimization problems in real time. By examining the channel allocation optimization problem in cellular radio systems, which is NP-complete and in which fast solution is necessary due to time-varying link gains, as well as the associative memory problem, computer simulations confirm the dramatic improvement in convergence speed at the expense of using a second nonlinear function in the proposed network.