Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Jacob Gunther


Jacob Gunther


Todd Moon


Reyhan Baktur


Charles Swenson


Adele Cutler


Deep learning has been making headlines in recent years and is often portrayed as an emerging technology on a meteoric rise towards fully sentient artificial intelligence. In reality, deep learning is the most recent renaissance of a 70 year old technology and is far from possessing true intelligence. The renewed interest is motivated by recent successes in challenging problems, the accessibility made possible by hardware developments, and dataset availability.

The predecessor to deep learning, commonly known as the artificial neural network, is a computational network setup to mimic the biological neural structure found in brains. However, unlike human brains, artificial neural networks, in most cases cannot make inferences from one problem to another. As a result, developing an artificial neural network requires a large number of examples of desired behavior for a specific problem. Furthermore, developing an artificial neural network capable of solving the problem can take days, or even weeks, of computations.

Two specific problems addressed in this dissertation are both input association problems. One problem challenges a neural network to identify overlapping regions in images and is used to evaluate the ability of a neural network to learn associations between inputs of similar types. The other problem asks a neural network to identify which observed wireless signals originated from observed potential sources and is used to assess the ability of a neural network to learn associations between inputs of different types.

The neural network solutions to both problems introduced, discussed, and evaluated in this dissertation demonstrate deep learning’s applicability to problems which have previously attracted little attention.