Comparison of non-linear activation functions for deep neural networks on MNIST classification task


Activation functions play a key role in neural networks so it becomes fundamental to understand their advantages and disadvantages in order to achieve better performances. This paper will first introduce common types of non linear activation functions that are alternative to the well known sigmoid function and then evaluate their characteristics. Moreover deeper neural networks will be analysed because they positively influence the final performances compared to shallower networks. They also strictly depend on the weight initialisation hence the effect of drawing weights from Gaussian and uniform distribution will be analysed making particular attention on how the number of incoming and outgoing connection to a node influence the whole network.