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If Deep Learning Toolbox™ does not provide the layer you require for your classification or regression problem, then you can define your own custom layer. For a list of built-in layers, see List of Deep Learning Layers.

The example Define Custom Deep Learning Layer with Learnable Parameters shows how to create a custom PreLU layer and goes through the following steps:

Name the layer – Give the layer a name so that you can use it in MATLAB

^{®}.Declare the layer properties – Specify the properties of the layer and which parameters are learned during training.

Create a constructor function (optional) – Specify how to construct the layer and initialize its properties. If you do not specify a constructor function, then at creation, the software initializes the

`Name`

,`Description`

, and`Type`

properties with`[]`

and sets the number of layer inputs and outputs to 1.Create forward functions – Specify how data passes forward through the layer (forward propagation) at prediction time and at training time.

Create a backward function (optional) – Specify the derivatives of the loss with respect to the input data and the learnable parameters (backward propagation). If you do not specify a backward function, then the forward functions must support

`dlarray`

objects.

If the forward function only uses functions that support `dlarray`

objects,
then creating a backward function is optional. In this case, the software determines the
derivatives automatically using automatic differentiation. For a list of functions that
support `dlarray`

objects, see List of Functions with dlarray Support. If you want to use
functions that do not support `dlarray`

objects, or want to use a specific
algorithm for the backward function, then you can define a custom backward function using
this example as a guide.

The example Define Custom Deep Learning Layer with Learnable Parameters shows how to create a PReLU layer. A PReLU layer performs a threshold operation, where for each channel, any input value less than zero is multiplied by a scalar learned at training time.[1] For values less than zero, a PReLU layer applies scaling coefficients $${\alpha}_{i}$$ to each channel of the input. These coefficients form a learnable parameter, which the layer learns during training.

The PReLU operation is given by

$$f({x}_{i})=\{\begin{array}{cc}{x}_{i}& \text{if}{x}_{i}0\\ {\alpha}_{i}{x}_{i}& \text{if}{x}_{i}\le 0\end{array}$$

where $${x}_{i}$$ is the input of the nonlinear activation *f* on channel *i*, and $${\alpha}_{i}$$ is the coefficient controlling the slope of the negative part. The subscript *i* in $${\alpha}_{i}$$ indicates that the nonlinear activation can vary on different channels.

View the layer created in the example Define Custom Deep Learning Layer with Learnable Parameters. This layer does not
have a `backward`

function.

classdef preluLayer < nnet.layer.Layer % Example custom PReLU layer. properties (Learnable) % Layer learnable parameters % Scaling coefficient Alpha end methods function layer = preluLayer(numChannels, name) % layer = preluLayer(numChannels, name) creates a PReLU layer % for 2-D image input with numChannels channels and specifies % the layer name. % Set layer name. layer.Name = name; % Set layer description. layer.Description = "PReLU with " + numChannels + " channels"; % Initialize scaling coefficient. layer.Alpha = rand([1 1 numChannels]); end function Z = predict(layer, X) % Z = predict(layer, X) forwards the input data X through the % layer and outputs the result Z. Z = max(X,0) + layer.Alpha .* min(0,X); end end end

Implement the `backward`

function that returns the derivatives of the
loss with respect to the input data and the learnable parameters.

The syntax for `backward`

is ```
[dLdX1,…,dLdXn,dLdW1,…,dLdWk] =
backward(layer,X1,…,Xn,Z1,…,Zm,dLdZ1,…,dLdZm,memory)
```

, where:

`X1,…,Xn`

are the`n`

layer inputs`Z1,…,Zm`

are the`m`

outputs of the layer forward functions`dLdZ1,…,dLdZm`

are the gradients backward propagated from the next layer`memory`

is the memory output of`forward`

if`forward`

is defined, otherwise,`memory`

is`[]`

.

For the outputs, `dLdX1,…,dLdXn`

are the derivatives of the
loss with respect to the layer inputs and `dLdW1,…,dLdWk`

are the
derivatives of the loss with respect to the `k`

learnable parameters. To
reduce memory usage by preventing unused variables being saved between the forward and
backward pass, replace the corresponding input arguments with `~`

.

**Tip**

If the number of inputs to `backward`

can vary, then use
`varargin`

instead of the input arguments after
`layer`

. In this case, `varargin`

is a cell array
of the inputs, where `varargin{i}`

corresponds to `Xi`

for `i`

=1,…,`NumInputs`

,
`varargin{NumInputs+j}`

and
`varargin{NumInputs+NumOutputs+j}`

correspond to
`Zj`

and `dLdZj`

, respectively, for
`j`

=1,…,`NumOutputs`

, and
`varargin{end}`

corresponds to `memory`

.

If the number of outputs can vary, then use `varargout`

instead of the
output arguments. In this case, `varargout`

is a cell array of the
outputs, where `varargout{i}`

corresponds to `dLdXi`

for `i`

=1,…,`NumInputs`

and
`varargout{NumInputs+t}`

corresponds to `dLdWt`

for `t`

=1,…,`k`

, where `k`

is the
number of learnable parameters.

Because a PReLU layer has only one input, one output, one learnable parameter, and
does not require the outputs of the layer forward function or a memory value, the
syntax for `backward`

for a PReLU layer is ```
[dLdX,dLdAlpha] =
backward(layer,X,~,dLdZ,~)
```

. The dimensions of `X`

are the
same as in the forward function. The dimensions of `dLdZ`

are the same
as the dimensions of the output `Z`

of the forward function. The
dimensions and data type of `dLdX`

are the same as the dimensions and
data type of `X`

. The dimension and data type of
`dLdAlpha`

is the same as the dimension and data type of the
learnable parameter `Alpha`

.

During the backward pass, the layer automatically updates the learnable parameters using the corresponding derivatives.

To include a custom layer in a network, the layer forward functions must accept the
outputs of the previous layer and forward propagate arrays with the size expected by the
next layer. Similarly, when `backward`

is specified, the
`backward`

function must accept inputs with the same size as the
corresponding output of the forward function and backward propagate derivatives with the
same size.

The derivative of the loss with respect to the input data is

$$\frac{\partial L}{\partial {x}_{i}}=\frac{\partial L}{\partial f({x}_{i})}\frac{\partial f({x}_{i})}{\partial {x}_{i}}$$

where $$\partial L/\partial f({x}_{i})$$ is the gradient propagated from the next layer, and the derivative of the activation is

$$\frac{\partial f({x}_{i})}{\partial {x}_{i}}=\{\begin{array}{cc}1& \text{if}{x}_{i}\ge 0\\ {\alpha}_{i}& {\text{ifx}}_{i}0\end{array}.$$

The derivative of the loss with respect to the learnable parameters is

$$\frac{\partial L}{\partial {\alpha}_{i}}={\displaystyle \sum _{j}^{}\frac{\partial L}{\partial f({x}_{ij})}\frac{\partial f({x}_{ij})}{\partial {\alpha}_{i}}}$$

where *i* indexes the channels, *j*
indexes the elements over height, width, and observations, and the gradient of the
activation is

$$\frac{\partial f({x}_{i})}{\partial {\alpha}_{i}}=\{\begin{array}{cc}0& \text{if}{x}_{i}\ge 0\\ {x}_{i}& \text{if}{x}_{i}0\end{array}.$$

Create the backward function that returns these derivatives.

```
function [dLdX, dLdAlpha] = backward(layer, X, ~, dLdZ, ~)
% [dLdX, dLdAlpha] = backward(layer, X, ~, dLdZ, ~)
% backward propagates the derivative of the loss function
% through the layer.
% Inputs:
% layer - Layer to backward propagate through
% X - Input data
% dLdZ - Gradient propagated from the deeper layer
% Outputs:
% dLdX - Derivative of the loss with respect to the
% input data
% dLdAlpha - Derivative of the loss with respect to the
% learnable parameter Alpha
dLdX = layer.Alpha .* dLdZ;
dLdX(X>0) = dLdZ(X>0);
dLdAlpha = min(0,X) .* dLdZ;
dLdAlpha = sum(dLdAlpha,[1 2]);
% Sum over all observations in mini-batch.
dLdAlpha = sum(dLdAlpha,4);
end
```

View the completed layer class file.

classdef preluLayer < nnet.layer.Layer % Example custom PReLU layer. properties (Learnable) % Layer learnable parameters % Scaling coefficient Alpha end methods function layer = preluLayer(numChannels, name) % layer = preluLayer(numChannels, name) creates a PReLU layer % for 2-D image input with numChannels channels and specifies % the layer name. % Set layer name. layer.Name = name; % Set layer description. layer.Description = "PReLU with " + numChannels + " channels"; % Initialize scaling coefficient. layer.Alpha = rand([1 1 numChannels]); end function Z = predict(layer, X) % Z = predict(layer, X) forwards the input data X through the % layer and outputs the result Z. Z = max(X,0) + layer.Alpha .* min(0,X); end function [dLdX, dLdAlpha] = backward(layer, X, ~, dLdZ, ~) % [dLdX, dLdAlpha] = backward(layer, X, ~, dLdZ, ~) % backward propagates the derivative of the loss function % through the layer. % Inputs: % layer - Layer to backward propagate through % X - Input data % dLdZ - Gradient propagated from the deeper layer % Outputs: % dLdX - Derivative of the loss with respect to the % input data % dLdAlpha - Derivative of the loss with respect to the % learnable parameter Alpha dLdX = layer.Alpha .* dLdZ; dLdX(X>0) = dLdZ(X>0); dLdAlpha = min(0,X) .* dLdZ; dLdAlpha = sum(dLdAlpha,[1 2]); % Sum over all observations in mini-batch. dLdAlpha = sum(dLdAlpha,4); end end end

If the layer forward functions fully support `dlarray`

objects, then the layer
is GPU compatible. Otherwise, to be GPU compatible, the layer functions must support inputs
and return outputs of type `gpuArray`

(Parallel Computing Toolbox).

Many MATLAB built-in functions support `gpuArray`

(Parallel Computing Toolbox) and `dlarray`

input arguments. For a list of
functions that support `dlarray`

objects, see List of Functions with dlarray Support. For a list of functions
that execute on a GPU, see Run MATLAB Functions on a GPU (Parallel Computing Toolbox).
To use a GPU for deep
learning, you must also have a supported GPU device. For information on supported devices, see
GPU Support by Release (Parallel Computing Toolbox). For more information on working with GPUs in MATLAB, see GPU Computing in MATLAB (Parallel Computing Toolbox).

[1] "Delving Deep
into Rectifiers: Surpassing Human-Level Performance on ImageNet Classification." *In
2015 IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)*, 1026–34. Santiago,
Chile: IEEE, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICCV.2015.123.

- Define Custom Deep Learning Layers
- Define Custom Deep Learning Layer with Learnable Parameters
- Define Custom Deep Learning Layer with Multiple Inputs
- Define Nested Deep Learning Layer
- Define Custom Classification Output Layer
- Define Custom Regression Output Layer
- Check Custom Layer Validity
- Specify Custom Output Layer Backward Loss Function
- List of Deep Learning Layers
- Deep Learning Tips and Tricks