Science in China Series F: Information Sciences

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 97–112 | Cite as

The essential order of approximation for neural networks



There have been various studies on approximation ability of feedforward neural networks (FNNs). Most of the existing studies are, however, only concerned with density or upper bound estimation on how a multivariate function can be approximated by an FNN, and consequently, the essential approximation ability of an FNN cannot be revealed. In this paper, by establishing both upper and lower bound estimations on approximation order, the essential approximation ability (namely, the essential approximation order) of a class of FNNs is clarified in terms of the modulus of smoothness of functions to be approximated. The involved FNNs can not only approximate any continuous or integrable functions defined on a compact set arbitrarily well, but also provide an explicit lower bound on the number of hidden units required. By making use of multivariate approximation tools, it is shown that when the functions to be approximated are Lipschitzian with order up to 2, the approximation speed of the FNNs is uniquely determined by modulus of smoothness of the functions.


feedforward neural networks approximation order the modulus of smoonthness of a multivariate function 


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© Science in China Press 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Information and System SciencesXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina

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