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Project Description

pydnn is a deep neural network library written in Python using Theano (symbolic math and optimizing compiler package). I wrote it as a learning project while competing in Kaggle’s National Data Science Bowl in March 2015 (where it produced an entry finishing in the top 6%) and plan to continue developing it by adding support for the most important deep learning techniques (including RNNs).

Design Goals

  • Simplicity
    Wherever possible simplify code to make it a clear expression of underlying deep learning algorithms. Minimize cognitive overhead, so that it is easy for someone who has completed the tutorials to pickup this library as a next step and easily start learning about, using, and coding more advanced techniques.
  • Completeness
    Include all the important and popular techniques for effective deep learning and not techniques with more marginal or ambiguous benefit.
  • Ease of use
    Make preparing a dataset, building a model and training a deep network only a few lines of code; enable users to work with NumPy rather than Theano.
  • Performance
    Should be roughly on par with other Theano neural net libraries so that pydnn is a viable choice for computationally intensive deep learning.


  • High performance GPU training (courtesy of Theano)
  • Quick start tools to instantly get started training on inexpensive Amazon EC2 GPU instances.
  • Implementations of important new techniques recently reported in the literature:
  • Implementations of standard deep learning techniques:
    • Stochastic Gradient Descent with Momentum
    • Dropout
    • convolutions with max-pooling using overlapping windows
    • ReLU/Tanh/sigmoid activation functions
    • etc.


First download and unzip raw image data from somewhere (e.g. Kaggle). Then:

import pydnn
import numpy as np
rng = np.random.RandomState(e.rng_seed)

# build data, split into training/validation sets, preprocess
train_dir = 'home\ubuntu\train'
data =
data = pydnn.preprocess.split_training_data(data, 64, 80, 15, 5)
resizer = pydnn.preprocess.StretchResizer()
pre = pydnn.preprocess.Rotator360(data, (64, 64), resizer, rng)

# build the neural network
net = pydnn.nn.NN(pre, 'images', 121, 64, rng, pydnn.nn.relu)
net.add_convolution(72, (7, 7), (2, 2))
net.add_convolution(128, (5, 5), (2, 2))
net.add_convolution(128, (3, 3), (2, 2))

# train the network
lr = pydnn.nn.Adam(learning_rate=pydnn.nn.LearningRateDecay(

From raw data to trained network (including specifying network architecture) in 25 lines of code.

Short Term Goals

  • Implement popular RNN techniques.
  • Integrate with Amazon EC2 clustering software (such as StarCluster).
  • Integrate with hyper-parameter optimization frameworks (such as Spearmint and hyperopt).


Isaac Kriegman

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Release History

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File Name & Checksum SHA256 Checksum Help Version File Type Upload Date (75.1 kB) Copy SHA256 Checksum SHA256 py2.py3 Wheel Mar 26, 2015

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