Articles | Volume 30, issue 5
Regular paper
24 May 2012
Regular paper |  | 24 May 2012

Investigating the performance of neural network backpropagation algorithms for TEC estimations using South African GPS data

J. B. Habarulema and L.-A. McKinnell

Abstract. In this work, results obtained by investigating the application of different neural network backpropagation training algorithms are presented. This was done to assess the performance accuracy of each training algorithm in total electron content (TEC) estimations using identical datasets in models development and verification processes. Investigated training algorithms are standard backpropagation (SBP), backpropagation with weight delay (BPWD), backpropagation with momentum (BPM) term, backpropagation with chunkwise weight update (BPC) and backpropagation for batch (BPB) training. These five algorithms are inbuilt functions within the Stuttgart Neural Network Simulator (SNNS) and the main objective was to find out the training algorithm that generates the minimum error between the TEC derived from Global Positioning System (GPS) observations and the modelled TEC data. Another investigated algorithm is the MatLab based Levenberg-Marquardt backpropagation (L-MBP), which achieves convergence after the least number of iterations during training. In this paper, neural network (NN) models were developed using hourly TEC data (for 8 years: 2000–2007) derived from GPS observations over a receiver station located at Sutherland (SUTH) (32.38° S, 20.81° E), South Africa. Verification of the NN models for all algorithms considered was performed on both "seen" and "unseen" data. Hourly TEC values over SUTH for 2003 formed the "seen" dataset. The "unseen" dataset consisted of hourly TEC data for 2002 and 2008 over Cape Town (CPTN) (33.95° S, 18.47° E) and SUTH, respectively. The models' verification showed that all algorithms investigated provide comparable results statistically, but differ significantly in terms of time required to achieve convergence during input-output data training/learning. This paper therefore provides a guide to neural network users for choosing appropriate algorithms based on the availability of computation capabilities used for research.