In machine learning, a convolutional neural network (CNN, or ConvNet) is a class of deep, feed-forward artificial neural network that has successfully been applied to analyzing visual imagery.
CNNs use a variation of multilayer perceptrons designed to require minimal preprocessing. They are also known as shift invariant or space invariant artificial neural networks (SIANN), based on their shared-weights architecture and translation invariance characteristics.
Convolutional networks were inspired by biological processes in which the connectivity pattern between neurons is inspired by the organization of the animal visual cortex. Individual cortical neurons respond to stimuli only in a restricted region of the visual field known as the receptive field. The receptive fields of different neurons partially overlap such that they cover the entire visual field.
CNNs use relatively little pre-processing compared to other image classification algorithms. This means that the network learns the filters that in traditional algorithms were hand-engineered. This independence from prior knowledge and human effort in feature design is a major advantage.
They have applications in image and video recognition, recommender systems and natural language processing.