The sensitivity of a neural network's output to its input perturbation is an important issue with both theoretical and practical values. In this article, we propose an approach to quantify the sensitivity of the most popular and general feedforward network: multilayer perceptron (MLP). The sensitivity measure is defined as the mathematical expectation of output deviation due to expected input deviation with respect to overall input patterns in a continuous interval. Based on the structural characteristics of the MLP, a bottom-up approach is adopted. A single neuron is considered first, and algorithms with approximately derived analytical expressions that are functions of expected input deviation are given for the computation of its sensitivity. Then another algorithm is given to compute the sensitivity of the entire MLP network. Computer simulations are used to verify the derived theoretical formulas. The agreement between theoretical and experimental results is quite good. The sensitivity measure can be used to evaluate the MLP's performance.

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