Artificial Neural Network

… a core concept used in Managing New Technologies and Atlas112M

Concept description

Techopedia (reference below) defines an artificial neural network (ANN) as “a computational model based on the structure and functions of biological neural networks.”

Techopedia goes on to say:

“Information that flows through the network affects the structure of the ANN because a neural network changes – or learns, in a sense – based on that input and output.

“ANNs are considered nonlinear statistical data modeling tools where the complex relationships between inputs and outputs are modeled or patterns are found.

“ANNs are deep learning models capable of pattern recognition and machine learning. They are part of the broader artificial intelligence (AI) technology field.

“ANN is also known as a neural network.

“An artificial neural network has three or more layers that are interconnected. The first layer consists of input neurons. Those neurons send data on to the deeper layers, which in turn will send the final output data to the last output layer.

“All the inner layers are hidden and are formed by units which adaptively change the information received from layer to layer through a series of transformations. Each layer acts both as an input and output layer that allows the ANN to understand more complex objects. Collectively, these inner layers are called the neural layer.

“The units in the neural layer try to learn about the information gathered by weighing it according to the ANN’s internal system. These guidelines allow units to generate a transformed result, which is then provided as an output to the next layer.

“An additional set of learning rules makes use of backpropagation, a process through which the ANN can adjust its output results by taking errors into account. Through backpropagation, each time the output is labeled as an error during the supervised training phase, the information is sent backward. Each weight is updated proportionally to how much they were responsible for the error.

“Hence, the error is used to recalibrate the weight of the ANN’s unit connections to take into account the difference between the desired outcome and the actual one. In due time, the ANN will “learn” how to minimize the chance for errors and unwanted results.

“Training an artificial neural network involves choosing from allowed models for which there are several associated algorithms.

“An ANN has several advantages but one of the most recognized of these is the fact that it can actually learn from observing data sets. In this way, ANN is used as a random function approximation tool. These types of tools help estimate the most cost-effective and ideal methods for arriving at solutions while defining computing functions or distributions.

“ANN takes data samples rather than entire data sets to arrive at solutions, which saves both time and money. ANNs are considered fairly simple mathematical models to enhance existing data analysis technologies.

“They can be used for many practical applications, such as predictive analysis in business intelligence, spam email detection, natural language processing in chatbots, and many more.”

See also Ben Dickson’s TechTalks posts, What are artificial neural networks (ANN)? and What is the difference between artificial neural networks and biological brains?

See also:  The Ethical Algorithm – The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design (Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth, 2019).

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Managing New Technologies (core topic) in Information and Technology Management and Atlas112M Management of Human, Information, and Technology Resources.


Techopedia, Artificial Neural Network (ANN), at, accessed 2 March 2021.

Ben Dickson (2019), What are artificial neural networks (ANN)?, TechTalks, at, accessed 2 March 2021.

Ben Dickson (2020), What is the difference between artificial neural networks and biological brains?, TechTalks, at, accessed 2 March 2021.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 2 March 2021.

Image: DigitalTrends, What is an artificial neural network?, at, 2 March 2021.