Lesson 5

Welcome back! We're moving beyond just creating and manipulating tensors, today we'll be diving into utilizing TensorFlow to build a simple neural network. Imagine that these are the foundational bricks that will help us in constructing the skyscrapers of machine learning. Don’t worry if neural networks seem intimidating at this point, as we will learn how to implement them step by step in our upcoming course. So, let's dig in!

Neural Networks are the backbone of many advanced machine learning models. They attempt to simulate the functionalities of the human brain — learning from experience, recognizing patterns, and making decisions.

In TensorFlow, you can visualize a neural network as a computational graph — all the nodes represent mathematical operations, and the edges are multidimensional data arrays, or *Tensors*, as we have previously learned.

Neural networks in TensorFlow are widely used because of their flexibility and high computing power. They play a critical role in various applications, from image classification and natural language processing to complex numerical computations. TensorFlow's set of tools make it a convenient choice for such tasks.

Layers in Neural Networks are clusters of neurons (basic units of a neural network). They are vital in processing input, transforming it, and generating output. TensorFlow's built-in library, `tf.keras`

, offers several predefined layers that you can use directly, like Dense layers, Convolutional layers, etc. It also allows you to define your own custom layers.

A Dense layer is the most basic and common layer in neural networks. Each neuron in a dense layer is connected to all neurons in the previous layer. They are great for learning complex representations but also can be computationally intensive.

Let's see how to define a Dense layer:

Python`1import tensorflow as tf 2 3layer = tf.keras.layers.Dense(units=2, activation='relu')`

The dense layer here includes two units (or neurons) and uses the Rectified Linear Unit (ReLU) activation function. Activation functions help the neural network decide how to process the input data. They make the output non-linear, which allows the network to solve more complex problems. Some common activation functions are **ReLU**, which turns negative values into zeros, **Sigmoid**, which changes values to be between 0 and 1, and **Tanh**, which scales values to range from -1 to 1.

Let's look at our code example to understand how it works:

Python`1# Creating an input tensor 2input_tensor = tf.constant([[1.0, 2.0]]) 3 4# Processing the input through the layer 5output_tensor = layer(input_tensor) 6 7print(f"Input Tensor:\n{input_tensor}\n") 8print(f"Output Tensor:\n{output_tensor}")`

Firstly, we create an `input_tensor`

, which will be processed by this layer. This `input_tensor`

simulates the inputs that the neural network layer would receive in a real-world machine learning model.

Next, we effortlessly process the `input_tensor`

through our defined neural network layer. This single line essentially applies the neural network's capabilities (performing operations, transforming input, etc.) on this `input_tensor`

.

Finally, we are printing the `output_tensor`

, which gives the result of processing our `input_tensor`

through our neural network.

The output will depend on the layer's random initial weights and bias, but may look like this:

Plain text`1Input Tensor: 2[[1. 2.]] 3 4Output Tensor: 5[[0. 2.339641]]`

This output shows the layer transforming the `input_tensor`

. The **ReLU** function changes negative values to zero, but this comes after the layer calculates a weighted sum of inputs and adds any bias. So, the **Output Tensor** reflects this entire process, not just the direct application of **ReLU** on the inputs, highlighting the layer's complex internal workings.

Fantastic job! You've now learned the basics of how neural networks function in TensorFlow. You've learned to build a simple neural network layer, understanding the parameters involved, and seen how TensorFlow processes an input through this layer.

As always, the best way to solidify your learning is through practice. In the upcoming practice exercises, you'll get the chance to apply these concepts. These exercises are designed to help you reinforce these skills and get a deeper grasp of TensorFlow's capabilities. Let's get coding!