Long Short-Term Memory usually just called “LSTMs” – are a special kind of RNN, capable of learning long-term dependencies. LSTMs are explicitly designed to avoid the long-term dependency problem. Remembering information for long periods of time is their default behavior. All recurrent neural networks have the form of a chain of repeating modules of a neural network. In standard RNNs, this repeating module will have a very simple structure, such as a single tanh layer. LSTMs also have this chain like structure, but the repeating module has a different structure. The key to LSTMs is the cell state which is acting like a conveyor belt. It runs straight down the entire chain, with only some minor linear interactions. It’s very easy for information to flow along it unchanged. The LSTM does have the ability to remove or add information to the cell state, carefully regulated by structures called gates. The first step in LSTM is to decide what information it is going to throw away from the cell state. This decision is made by a sigmoid layer called the “forget gate layer.” The next step is to decide what new information we’re going to store in the cell state. The last step is a decision on output.
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