Activation Function in Neural Network

In deep learning, activation functions are a critical component of neural networks. It assists us in determining a deep learning model’s output, accuracy, and computing efficiency during training. They also have a significant impact on how neural networks converge and how fast they converge. The activation functions may also hinder neural networks from converging in specific instances. Let’s take a closer look at activation functions in neural network, types of activation functions, their importance, and limitations.

What is a Neural Network Activation Function?

An Activation Function determines whether or not a neuron is activated. This means that it will use simpler mathematical operations to determine whether the neuron’s input to the network is essential or not throughout the prediction phase.

The Activation Function’s job is to generate output from a set of input values that are fed into a node (or a layer).


Let’s back up for a moment and define what a node is.

A node is a duplicate of a neuron that receives a collection of input signals—external stimuli—if we compare the neural network to human brain.

Why do Neural Networks Need an Activation Function?

Activation functions add an extra step at each layer during forward propagation, but the cost of computing it is justified. This is why:

Let’s pretend we have a neural network that doesn’t have any activation functions.

In that situation, each neuron will just use the weights and biases to execute a linear change on the inputs. Because the composite of two linear functions is a linear function, it doesn’t matter how many hidden layers we add to the neural network; all layers will act the same.

3 Types of Neural Networks Activation Functions

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals, let’s look at some of the most common neural network activation functions.

Binary Step Function     

A threshold value determines whether a neuron should be activated or not in a binary step function.

The input to the activation function is compared to a threshold; if it is higher, the neuron is activated; if it is lower, the neuron is deactivated, and its output is not passed on to the next hidden layer.

Linear Activation Function

The Linear Activation Function is a type of activation function that is linear in

The linear activation function, often known as the Identity Function, is a proportional activation function.

A linear activation function, on the other hand, has two fundamental drawbacks:

·         Back propagation is not conceivable because the function’s derivative is a constant and has no relationship to the input x.

·         If a linear activation function is employed, all layers of the neural network will collapse into one. The last layer of a neural network will always be a linear function of the first layer, regardless of how many layers there are. A linear activation function effectively reduces the neural network to a single layer.

Non-Linear Activation Functions

A linear regression model is used to create the linear activation function displayed above.

The model is unable to make complicated mappings between the network’s inputs and outputs due to its limited power.

The following limitations of linear activation functions are overcome by non-linear activation functions:

They allow back propagation because the derivative function is now tied to the input, making it possible to go back and figure out which input neuron weights can produce a better forecast.

They allow several layers of neurons to be stacked since the output is a non-linear mixture of input transmitted through numerous levels. In a neural network, any output can be represented as a functional computation.

Also Read: Global Warming Essay



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