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Learning deep learning (project 2, image classification)

March 7th, 2017

In this class project, I built a network to classify images in the CIFAR-10 dataset. This dataset is freely available.

The dataset contains 60K color images (32×32 pixel) in 10 classes, with 6K images per class.

Here are the classes in the dataset, as well as 10 random images from each:


You can imagine it’s not possible to write down all rules to classify them, so we have to write a program which can learn.

The neural network I created contains 2 hidden layers. The first one is a convolutional layer with max pooling. Then drop out 70% of the connections. The second layer is a fully connected layer with 384 neurons.

def conv_net(x, keep_prob):
    Create a convolutional neural network model
    : x: Placeholder tensor that holds image data.
    : keep_prob: Placeholder tensor that hold dropout keep probability.
    : return: Tensor that represents logits
    # TODO: Apply 1, 2, or 3 Convolution and Max Pool layers
    #    Play around with different number of outputs, kernel size and stride
    # Function Definition from Above:
    #    conv2d_maxpool(x_tensor, conv_num_outputs, conv_ksize, conv_strides, pool_ksize, pool_strides)
    model = conv2d_maxpool(x, conv_num_outputs=18, conv_ksize=(4,4), conv_strides=(1,1), pool_ksize=(8,8), pool_strides=(1,1))
    model = tf.nn.dropout(model, keep_prob)

    # TODO: Apply a Flatten Layer
    # Function Definition from Above:
    #   flatten(x_tensor)
    model = flatten(model)

    # TODO: Apply 1, 2, or 3 Fully Connected Layers
    #    Play around with different number of outputs
    # Function Definition from Above:
    #   fully_conn(x_tensor, num_outputs)
    model = fully_conn(model,384)

    model = tf.nn.dropout(model, keep_prob)

    # TODO: Apply an Output Layer
    #    Set this to the number of classes
    # Function Definition from Above:
    #   output(x_tensor, num_outputs)
    model = output(model,10)

    # TODO: return output
    return model

Then I trained this network using Amazon AWS g2.2xlarge instance. This instance has GPU which is much faster for deep learning (than CPU). I did a simple experiment and find GPU is at least 3 times faster than CPU:

if all layers in gpu: 14 seconds to run 4 epochs,
if conv layer in cpu, other gpu, 36 seconds to run 4 epochs

This is apparently a very crude comparison but GPU is definitely much faster than CPU (at least the ones in AWS g2.2xlarge, cost: $0.65/hour)

Eventually I got ~70% accuracy on the test data, much better than random guess (10%). The time to train the model is ~30 minutes.

You can find my entire code at:

Author: Xu Cui Categories: brain, deep learning Tags:
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About the author:

Xu Cui is a human brain research scientist in Stanford University. He lives in the Bay Area in the United States. He is also the founder of Stork (smart publication alert app), PaperBox and BizGenius.


He was born in He'nan province, China. He received education in Beijing University(BS), University of Tennessee (Knoxville) (MS), Baylor College of Medicine (PhD) and Stanford University (PostDoc). Read more ...
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