Published on Thu Jun 06 2019

Visual Backpropagation

Roy S. Freedman

We show how a declarative functional programming specification of Visual Backpropagation yields a visual and transparent implementation within spreadsheets. The implementation uses no hidden macros nor user-defined functions; there are no loops, assignment statements, or links to any procedural programs written in conventional languages.

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Abstract

We show how a declarative functional programming specification of backpropagation yields a visual and transparent implementation within spreadsheets. We call our method Visual Backpropagation. This backpropagation implementation exploits array worksheet formulas, manual calculation, and has a sequential order of computation similar to the processing of a systolic array. The implementation uses no hidden macros nor user-defined functions; there are no loops, assignment statements, or links to any procedural programs written in conventional languages. As an illustration, we compare a Visual Backpropagation solution to a Tensorflow (Python) solution on a standard regression problem.