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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what you would expect, 15 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Introduction to Neural Networks for Java, Second Edition (Paperback)
I was fairly disappointed in this book on the whole. The title of the book is "Introduction to Neural Networks for Java" and the available blurb gives the impression that the inside of the book is what the title says, an introduction to neural networks in the Java language. It is NOT what you would be led to believe. A more appropriate title would be "An introduction to using Jeff Heaton's Java Libraries for constructing neural networks"

You may now be wondering, "But, at least you still learn about neural networks, don't you?", well yes and no. The first chapter gives a quick overview of neural networks, their origins, their uses, etc. The rest of the book is dedicated to giving the reader code and explaining that code. "So far so good", I hear you cry. Wrong again. The code itself is simple, it has been watered down by cramming most of the technical parts (read "parts about neural networks") into Jeff Heaton's neural network libraries, providing the user with simple to use functions and classes. Those functions and classes must be downloaded from his website in order to see the source code. There is no explanation of that source code in the book.

You may still be unconvinced by my ramblings about what is wrong with the book, so I have a metaphor for it:
When you first started school you were taught how to perform simple addition and subtraction with an piece of paper and a pencil, or even in their heads (this is the expectation). However at Jeff Heaton's school, the teachers give the kids pocket calculators and do not teach them how to add or subtract, only how to use the tool provided (the reality).

Still don't understand? Okay, when I was looking for a book on neural networks and how to program them in Java I found this one. When I found it, I was given the impression that the contents would start off simple, maybe the code for a perceptron with each line commented on. Then it would progress onto a feed forward network, again explaining how the sections of code relate to the neural network (like psuedocode).
Granted, it explains code, but it doesn't explain the neural network.

Like I said at the start the title is misleading and would be more appropriate as "An introduction to using Jeff Heaton's Java Libraries for constructing neural networks".
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Introduction to Neural Networks for Java, Second Edition
Introduction to Neural Networks for Java, Second Edition by Jeff Heaton (Paperback - 15 Sept. 2008)
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