Lesson 5

Hello there! In this deep-dive session, we'll cover two fundamental topics related to **Neural Networks**: **Loss Functions** and **Optimizers**. Understanding these concepts is vital for effectively working with neural networks due to their crucial role in training machine learning models. But how do they contribute to these models? That's something we are about to unpack!

We will explore these concepts hands-on, using `TensorFlow`

, and gain an understanding of their significance in the process of training neural networks. We will also learn how to compile a TensorFlow model using a specified **Optimizer** and **Loss Function**, and how to summarize that model to get an overview of its configuration. To provide a context-rich, practical learning experience, the *scikit-learn Digits* dataset will serve as our reference throughout the lesson. Let's get started!

Remember how during a sport, it's the scoreboard that guides athletes about their performance and determines their strategy? In the realm of machine learning, *Loss Functions* play a similar role. They measure the error or 'loss' of a model — the difference between the model's predictions and the actual outcomes. The lower the loss, the better the model predictions.

Various types of Loss Functions exist, each suited to specific kinds of tasks. For instance, you are likely already familiar with **Mean Squared Error (MSE)** for regression models, and **Cross-Entropy** (Binary and Categorical) for classification problems.

For training the Neural Network model on the data we have at hand, we'll consider `sparse_categorical_crossentropy`

. This loss function is perfect for multi-class classification problems where the target classes are exclusive. When dealing with data like our digit classification problem, where the classes are mutually exclusive, this loss function is ideal!

Now, let's introduce the navigators on our journey - the *Optimizers*. These mechanisms control the reduction of error or loss in a model by adjusting its parameters, such as weights and biases. As the model trains iteratively, the Optimizer uses the output of the Loss Function to guide the model towards lower loss, and thus towards improved predictions.

We have several types of Optimizers, including **Gradient Descent (GD)**, **Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD)**, **RMSProp**, and **Adam**. Today, we'll focus on `Adam`

. The `Adam`

optimizer intelligently combines the strengths of two SGD extensions (AdaGrad and RMSProp), making it adept at handling sparse or noisy datasets.

To further clarify, let's delve into how optimizers function within the training process. Think of the optimizer as a navigator, guiding a ship (the neural network) towards its destination (accurate predictions). This journey is complex, involving not just the adjustment of individual components (like a ship's rudder or sails) but the coordinated movement of the entire vessel. Similarly, the optimizer doesn't tweak each neuron or layer in isolation. Instead, it views the network as a whole entity, adjusting the weights and biases globally based on the overall error signal provided by the loss function. This process occurs after each batch of data is processed, allowing the network to learn and improve incrementally. It's a nuanced, holistic approach that ensures the entire network evolves towards making more accurate predictions, rather than focusing on individual elements in isolation.

In more advanced courses we'll dive deeper into understanding the mechanics of the optimizers but for now TensorFlow handles this for us with just a tweak of a parameter.

Having delved into loss functions and optimizers, let's get practical. We'll demonstrate how to compile a TensorFlow model using a specified optimizer and a loss function. We will use the `Adam`

optimizer and `sparse_categorical_crossentropy`

loss function that we just explored.

The `model.compile()`

method in TensorFlow lies at the heart of compiling a model. It essentially readies the model for training and requires the definition of both the optimizer and the loss function as parameters.

Python`1from tensorflow.keras import models 2from tensorflow.keras import layers 3 4# Commence model creation using Keras Sequential API 5model = models.Sequential() 6# Add layers to the model 7model.add(layers.Dense(512, activation='relu', input_shape=(64,))) 8model.add(layers.Dense(10, activation='softmax')) 9 10# Compile the model 11model.compile(optimizer='adam', 12 loss='sparse_categorical_crossentropy', 13 metrics=['accuracy'])`

Observe that we add a third parameter, `metrics=['accuracy']`

, to `model.compile()`

. Including this parameter enables TensorFlow to monitor and report the model's accuracy, providing valuable insights during both its training and evaluation phases.

Once we compile the model, we can review a summarized snapshot of the model using the `model.summary()`

method. This summary includes valuable information such as the number and types of layers in the model, the output shapes of each layer, and the total parameters (trainable and non-trainable).

Python`1# Fetch the compiled model summary 2model.summary()`

output

Python`1Model: "sequential" 2_________________________________________________________________ 3 Layer (type) Output Shape Param # 4================================================================= 5 dense (Dense) (None, 512) 33280 6 7 dense_1 (Dense) (None, 10) 5130 8 9================================================================= 10Total params: 38410 (150.04 KB) 11Trainable params: 38410 (150.04 KB) 12Non-trainable params: 0 (0.00 Byte) 13_________________________________________________________________`

Notice how this is a different architecture than the one we created in prior lessons. This one is less deep but is wider. The model summary provides a comprehensive overview of the model and can be useful for debugging instances when the model structure seems complex.

Congratulations on completing this fascinating session on *Loss Functions* and *Optimizers*! We've learned about various types of loss functions and optimizers, grasped how they contribute to training neural networks with TensorFlow, compiled a TensorFlow model using an optimizer and a loss function, and finally, summarized our model to get an overview of its structure.

What time is it? You got it right, it's practice time. Let's get to it.