BCAP: An Artificial Neural Network Pruning Technique to Reduce Overfitting

Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work


Computer Science and Electrical Engineering


Computer Science

Citation of Original Publication


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Determining the optimal size of a neural network is complicated. Neural networks, with many free parameters, can be used to solve very complex problems. However, these neural networks are susceptible to overfitting. BCAP (Brantley-Clark Artificial Neural Network Pruning Technique) addresses overfitting by combining duplicate neurons in a neural network hidden layer, thereby forcing the network to learn more distinct features. We compare hidden units using the cosine similarity, and combine those that are similar with each other within a threshold. By doing so the co-adaption of the neurons in the network is reduced because hidden units that are highly correlated (i.e. similar) are combined. In this paper we show evidence that BCAP is successful in reducing network size while maintaining accuracy, or improving accuracy of neural networks during and after training.