NeuroSolutions for Excel Products Summary

NeuroSolutions for Excel is a Microsoft Excel add-in that simplifies and enhances the process of getting data into and out of a NeuroSolutions neural network. This tool benefits both the novice and the advanced neural network developer by offering easy to use, yet extremely powerful features. The foremost feature of this product is that all tasks can be performed directly from Excel!

For the novice, NeuroSolutions for Excel provides:

  • Visual Data Selection
  • Neural Network Design Wizard
  • One-step Training and Testing
  • Automated Report Generation

For the advanced user, NeuroSolutions for Excel has the following features:

  • Data Preprocessing
  • Data Analysis
  • Parameter Optimization
  • Sensitivity Analysis
  • Batch Experiments

NeuroSolutions for Excel is organized into seven modules, each of which can be extended with user-defined custom batches written in Visual Basic for Applications.

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Preprocess Data Module

The Preprocess Data module allows the user to easily apply various preprocessing techniques to their raw data to prepare it for input into a neural network. The following Preprocess Data operations are built into NeuroSolutions for Excel™
  • Difference between Columns
  • Insert Column Labels
  • Sub-sample Rows
  • Moving Average of Column
  • Shift - NEW in NeuroSolutions v5.0!
    The input data is adjusted to either move the inputs back by a specified shift value to do predictions or move the inputs forward to lead your desired output.
  • Encode Two Class Column - NEW in NeuroSolutions v5.0!
    The selected column of data is checked to verify that there are two classes contained within the column and is then encoded into another column. The data to be encoded can be textual or numeric, but must be translated to only numeric, integer codes. The encoded column will be written in the first empty column in the dataset.
  • Pause Training - NEW in NeuroSolutions v5.0!
    As an alternative to completely stopping a training run, the network can be paused, so training can be resumed at the same point.
  • Classification Report - NEW in NeuroSolutions v5.0!
    A classification report generated if the desired output of the testing set is a single two-class column.
  • Randomize Rows
    Randomly arranges the rows of data within the active worksheet. This is performed on ordered data so that the training data is representative of the entire data set.
  • Translate Symbolic Columns
    Translates textual columns into columns of 0's and 1's. This is a requirement for columns containing words since neural networks can only work with numeric data.
  • Clean Data
    Cleans the data by replacing blank cells, error codes, and/or user-defined text with an interpolated value, the column average, a random value, or the closest value in a column.

Analyze Data Module

The Analyze Data module provides the user with useful information about their data. The operations available in this module can be used during the preprocessing stage of neural network design or to analyze the network output. The following Analyze Data operations are built into NeuroSolutions for Excel™:
  • Histogram
  • Time Series Plot
  • X-Y Scatter Plot
  • Correlation
    Computes the correlation between each of the columns of data and generates a table.
  • Summary Statistics
    Computes several key statistics for the selected column(s) of data, such as Mean, Standard Error (of the mean), Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Variance, Kurtosis, Skewness, Range, Minimum, Maximum, Sum, Count, Mean Confidence Level, Kth Largest Value and Kth Smallest Value.
  • Trend Accuracy
    The trend accuracy measure is useful when working with time series data. It gives the percentage for which the actual output changed in the correct direction relative to the previous desired value.

Tag Data Module

The Tag Data module provides a simple graphical method for tagging portions of your data as Training Input, Training Desired, Cross Validation Input, Cross Validation Desired, Testing Input, Testing Desired, and Production Input. This module also provides powerful auto-tag methods. The following Tag Data operations are built into NeuroSolutions for Excel™:
  • Tag Selected Column(s) As Input, Desired or Symbol
  • Tag Selected Row(s) As Training, Cross Validation, Testing or Production
  • Clear Selected Tags
  • Tag Rows By Percentages
    Tags the rows of data within the active worksheet as Training, Cross Validation, and Testing according to user-defined percentages.
  • Select Cross-section
    Allows you to automatically select a cross-section of data based on how it is tagged.

Create/Open Network Module

The Create/Open Network module allows the user to create a NeuroSolutions breadboard (neural network) from scratch through the use of the NeuralBuilder utility or by opening an existing NeuroSolutions breadboard. The following Create/Open Network operations are built into NeuroSolutions for Excel™:
  • Open, Close or Save Breadboard
  • New Classification Network - NEW in NeuroSolutions v5.0!
    Automatically creates a breadboard suited for Function Approximation problems.
  • New Function Approximation Network - NEW in NeuroSolutions v5.0!
    Automatically creates a breadboard suited for Function Approximation problems.
  • New Custom Network
    Starts the NeuralBuilder which guides the user through the creation of a new NeuroSolutions breadboard.
  • Load Best Weights
    Loads the best weights for the active breadboard.

Create Data Files Module

The Create Data Files module creates tab-delimited ASCII files for each tagged cross-section so that NeuroSolutions can read the data. This module is not used very often since the files are created automatically whenever the neural network is trained or tested. The following Create Data Files operations are built into NeuroSolutions for Excel:
  • Create All Data Files
  • Create Files for one Data Set (Training, Cross Validation, Testing or Production)
  • View Data Files
  • Delete All Data Files

Train Network Module

The Train Network module gives the user the ability to train a network once, multiple times with different random initial conditions, or multiple times while varying one or more network parameters. This powerful module permits the user to easily find the optimum network for a particular problem. The following Train Network operations are built into NeuroSolutions for Excel™:
  • Train
    Trains the active NeuroSolutions breadboard one time and creates a report of the results.
  • Train N Times
    Trains the active NeuroSolutions breadboard N times with different random initial conditions and creates report of the results.
  • Leave N Out Training - NEW in NeuroSolutions v5.0!
    Trains the network multiple times, each time omitting a different subset of the data and using that subset for testing. The outputs from each tested subset are combined into one testing report and the model is trained one additional time using all of the data.
  • Vary a Parameter
    Trains the active NeuroSolutions breadboard N times for each value of a network parameter as the parameter is varied from a user defined starting value by a user defined increment for a user defined number of variations.
  • Train Genetic
    Trains the active NeuroSolutions breadboard while genetically optimizing the choice of inputs and parameter values to achieve the best model.

Test Network Module

The Test Network module can be used to test a network after training has been completed. In testing the network, various performance measures are computed. This module also allows you to perform sensitivity analysis on the network. The following Test Network operations are built into NeuroSolutions for Excel™:
  • Test
    Tests the active NeuroSolutions breadboard on the chosen data set and creates a report of the results.
  • Sensitivity About the Mean
    Performs sensitivity analysis on the chosen data set. This procedure allows you to determine the effect each of the inputs has on the network output.

Custom Batches

The user can also create his/her own custom subroutines (batches) for any of the seven modules by calling built-in NeuroSolutions functions and/or writing Visual Basic code. These custom batches can then be run from the NeuroSolutions for Excel™ menu from within Microsoft Excel™ .

For example, suppose that you wanted to create a batch that will train your data using four different type of neural network architectures and then return the results of the architecture that performed the best. NeuroSolutions for Excel will allow you to write a custom VB subroutine to perform these steps automatically and then add that batch as an option within the Train Network Module.

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