Artificial neural networks are a group of mathematical methods that attempt to mimic some of the processes in the human mind. Although the foundations for these ideas were laid as early as 1943 (McCulloch and Pitts, 1943), it wasn't until 1986 (Rumelhart and McClelland, 1986; Masters, 1995) that applications to practical problems became possible. It is the acknowledged superiority of the human mind at recognizing patterns that the artificial neural networks are trying to imitate with their interconnected neurons. Interconnections used in the methods that have been developed allow robust learning. Capabilities of neural networks fall into three kinds of applications: (1) function fitting or prediction, (2) noise reduction or pattern recognition, and (3) classification or placing into types.
Because of these capabilities and the powerful abilities of artificial neural networks, there have been increasing applications of these methods in the earth sciences. The abstracts in this document represent excellent samples of the range of applications. Talks associated with the abstracts were presented at the Symposium on the Application of Neural Networks to the Earth Sciences: Seventh International Symposium on Mineral Exploration (ISME–02), held August 20–21, 2002, at NASA Moffett Field, Mountain View, California. This symposium was sponsored by the Mining and Materials Processing Institute of Japan (MMIJ), the U.S. Geological Survey, the Circum-Pacific Council, and NASA. The ISME symposia have been held every two years in order to bring together scientists actively working on diverse quantitative methods applied to the earth sciences. Although the title, International Symposium on Mineral Exploration, suggests exclusive focus on mineral exploration, interests and presentations have always been wide-ranging—abstracts presented here are no exception.
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USGS Numbered Series
Abstracts for the symposium on the Application of neural networks to the earth sciences
U.S. Geological Survey
Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center