The premise of this article is that learning procedures used to train artificial neural networks are inherently statistical techniques. It follows that statistical theory can provide considerable insight into the properties, advantages, and disadvantages of different network learning methods. We review concepts and analytical results from the literatures of mathematical statistics, econometrics, systems identification, and optimization theory relevant to the analysis of learning in artificial neural networks. Because of the considerable variety of available learning procedures and necessary limitations of space, we cannot provide a comprehensive treatment. Our focus is primarily on learning procedures for feedforward networks. However, many of the concepts and issues arising in this framework are also quite broadly relevant to other network learning paradigms. In addition to providing useful insights, the material reviewed here suggests some potentially useful new training methods for artificial neural networks.

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