Comparisons among different stochastic selection of activation layers for convolutional neural networks for healthcare

Loris Nanni, Alessandra Lumini, Stefano Ghidoni, Gianluca Maguolo

Classification of biological images is an important task with crucial application in many fields, such as cell phenotypes recognition, detection of cell organelles and histopathological classification, and it might help in early medical diagnosis, allowing automatic disease classification without the need of a human expert. In this paper we classify biomedical images using ensembles of neural networks. We create this ensemble using a ResNet50 architecture and modifying its activation layers by substituting ReLUs with other functions. We select our activations among the following ones: ReLU, leaky ReLU, Parametric ReLU, ELU, Adaptive Piecewice Linear Unit, S-Shaped ReLU, Swish , Mish, Mexican Linear Unit, Gaussian Linear Unit, Parametric Deformable Linear Unit, Soft Root Sign (SRS) and others. As a baseline, we used an ensemble of neural networks that only use ReLU activations. We tested our networks on several small and medium sized biomedical image datasets. Our results prove that our best ensemble obtains a better performance than the ones of the naive approaches. In order to encourage the reproducibility of this work, the MATLAB code of all the experiments will be shared at https://github.com/LorisNanni.

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