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Neural Net Project


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

For this project you first must study up on neural nets. You might solve this purely with software, or if you have a bigger budget with some neural net hardware too.

The problem to solve is this. You collect a database of city names and the countries/provinces in which they appear. You might collect this by OCRing the index of an atlas. You use this and your ingenuity to train your neural net.

Then you test your net by giving it a new city not in its training database and see how well it can guess which country it belongs to. It might list several countries with a probability.

Then you put this up on the Internet and let people enter city names, including fictitious names and see what it comes up with for country.

If this succeeds, see if you can figure out how it works. What is it about certain names that makes you associate them with certain countries?

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