Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering


Computer Science and Computer Engineering


Gashler, Mike

Committee Member/Reader

Gauch, Susan

Committee Member/Second Reader

Patitz, Matt


Artificial neural networks are function-approximating models that can improve themselves with experience. In order to work effectively, they rely on a nonlinearity, or activation function, to transform the values between each layer. One question that remains unanswered is, “Which non-linearity is optimal for learning with a particular dataset?” This thesis seeks to answer this question with the MNIST dataset, a popular dataset of handwritten digits, and vowel dataset, a dataset of vowel sounds. In order to answer this question effectively, it must simultaneously determine near-optimal values for several other meta-parameters, including the network topology, the optimization algorithm, and the number of training epochs necessary for the model to converge to good results.