Binary Classification Using PyTorch: Defining a Network

I wrote an article titled “Binary Classification Using PyTorch: Defining a Network” in the October 2020 edition of the online Visual Studio Magazine. See

The article is the second in a series of four articles that give a complete end-to-end example of binary classification. I’ve written articles on binary classification before, in print magazines. With print, there are always article length constraints. But with an online channel, I was free to give many useful details that I’d always have t leave out in traditional print media.

The example problem is to classify a banknote as authentic (0) or forgery (1) based on four numeric predictor values derived from a digital image of each banknote — variance, skewness, kurtosis, entropy. My article focused on the neural network definition. Design decisions include number of nodes (I used a 4-(8-8)-1 network), weights and biases initialization (I used Xavier / Zero), activations (I used tanh() on hidden nodes and sigmoid() on the output node), and loss function (I used the BCELoss() function).

Left: The complete system in action. Right: Testing the network input-output part of the system.

In my article, I mention a topic that can be very confusing to guys who are new to PyTorch. You can define a PyTorch neural network in two completely different ways. The first approach, which I strongly recommend, looks like this for a 4-7-1 network:

class Net(T.nn.Module):
  def __init__(self):
    super(Net, self).__init__()
    self.hid1 = T.nn.Linear(4, 7)  # 4-7-1
    self.oupt = T.nn.Linear(7, 1)

  def forward(self, x):
    z = T.tanh(self.hid1(x))
    z = T.sigmoid(self.oupt(z))
    return z

net = Net().to(device)

The second approach looks like:

net = T.nn.Sequential(

If you’re new to PyTorch, the two approaches look very different. Anyway, in my article I explain why I think the first approach is better.

Left: The torch cactus (Trichocereus grandifloras). Center: The torch lily (Kniphofia uvaria). Right: The torch coral (Euphylia glabrescens).

This entry was posted in PyTorch. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s