Boltzmann machine is a network of symmetrically connected, neuronlike units that make stochastic decisions about whether to be on or off. Boltzmann machines have a simple learning algorithm that allows them to discover interesting features in datasets composed of binary vectors. The learning algorithm is very slow in networks with many layers of feature detectors, but it can be made much faster by learning one layer of feature detectors at a time. Boltzmann machines are used to solve two quite different computational problems. For a search problem, the weights on the connections are fixed and are used to represent the cost function of an optimization problem. The stochastic dynamics of a Boltzmann machine then allow it to sample binary state vectors that represent good solutions to the optimization problem. For a learning problem, the Boltzmann machine is shown a set of binary data vectors and it must find weights on the connections so that the data vectors are good solutions to the optimization problem defined by those weights. To solve a learning problem, Boltzmann machines make many small updates to their weights, and each update requires them to solve many different search problems.

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