Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are being used increasingly to predict and forecast water resources variables. In this paper, the steps that should be followed in the development of such models are outlined. These include the choice of performance criteria, the division and pre-processing of the available data, the determination of appropriate model inputs and network architecture, optimisation of the connection weights (training) and model validation. The options available to modellers at each of these steps are discussed and the issues that should be considered are highlighted. A review of 43 papers dealing with the use of neural network models for the prediction and forecasting of water resources variables is undertaken in terms of the modelling process adopted. In all but two of the papers reviewed, feedforward networks are used. The vast majority of these networks are trained using the backpropagation algorithm. Issues in relation to the optimal division of the available data, data pre-processing and the choice of appropriate model inputs are seldom considered. In addition, the process of choosing appropriate stopping criteria and optimising network geometry and internal network parameters is generally described poorly or carried out inadequately. All of the above factors can result in non-optimal model performance and an inability to draw meaningful comparisons between different models. Future research efforts should be directed towards the development of guidelines which assist with the development of ANN models and the choice of when ANNs should be used in preference to alternative approaches, the assessment of methods for extracting the knowledge that is contained in the connection weights of trained ANNs and the incorporation of uncertainty into ANN models.
Environmental Modelling & Software – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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