An analysis of the influence of weight and input perturbations in a multilayer perceptron (MLP) is made in this article. Quantitative measurements of fault tolerance, noise immunity, and generalization ability are provided. From the expressions obtained, it is possible to justify some previously reported conjectures and experimentally obtained results (e.g., the influence of weight magnitudes, the relation between training with noise and the generalization ability, the relation between fault tolerance and the generalization ability). The measurements introduced here are explicitly related to the mean squared error degradation in the presence of perturbations, thus constituting a selection criterion between different alternatives of weight configurations. Moreover, they allow us to predict the degradation of the learning performance of an MLP when its weights or inputs are deviated from their nominal values and thus, the behavior of a physical implementation can be evaluated before the weights are mapped on it according to its accuracy.

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