Machine Learning vs Neural Networks | Key Differences

In the last decade, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL) have become so fundamental to our lives and so out of our control that we no longer recognize their true meanings. Unfortunately, most people consider Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning the same thing. The technologies are closely related, but their innate differences make them unique. 

Our goal today is to illuminate one such source of confusion – Machine Learning vs. Neural Networks. So let’s dive in.

What are Neural Networks? 


An artificial neural network is based on the structure of the human brain. As a Machine learning algorithm, it is used for unsupervised learning. A neural network consists of nodes, which are interconnected entities that perform simple calculations. This is how a Neural Network works. 

What is Machine Learning?


Machine learning refers to a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows systems to learn and improve automatically without being explicitly programmed. It involves the development of computer programs that can access and use data to learn for themselves.

People who learn through examples, direct experience, or teaching look for patterns in data to help them make better decisions in the future based on the sample provided. Machine learning’s primary goal is to teach computers to learn independently, without the need for human intervention.

Differences Between Neural Network and Machine Learning


Here are the primary differences between Neural Networks and Machine Learning.

  • By analyzing data, machine learning algorithms discover meaningful patterns of interest. Data modeling is accomplished with neural network algorithms in Machine Learning.
  • A neural network arranges algorithms to allow it to make accurate decisions without the assistance of a model. In the initial stages of machine learning, even though models can learn from data, human intervention may be necessary.
  • We previously discussed two distinct types of machine learning models – supervised and unsupervised. Neural networks are divided into feed-forward, recurrent, convolutional, and modular networks.
  • Machine learning works simply, whereas neural networks work in a complicated way.
  • Data structures, algorithms, and knowledge of machine learning frameworks are necessary for machine learning. For example, the neural network requires math, graphical theory, probability and statistics, and linear algebra skills.
  • Machine learning is being applied in healthcare, marketing, e-commerce, online video streaming, IoT, and transportation and logistics, to name a few. On the other hand, neural networks can be utilized to solve a range of commercial challenges, such as data validation, customer research, and sales forecasting.


What is Data Mining?


The process of obtaining valuable information from a vast volume of raw data is a simple way to define data mining. However, a data pattern analysis includes employing a range of applications to investigate vast batches of data. Consequently, data mining is engaged in a variety of sectors, including science and research.

Neural Network in Data Mining


Data warehousing companies use neural networks to analyze datasets as part of the data mining process. Data warehouses are different from ordinary databases in that they modify and cross-fertilize data to help users make better decisions. A model, a learning method, and activation functions are the three main components of neuronal networks. 

Neural networks are used to store, detect, and recover patterns from solving complex optimization problems, filter noise from measurement data, control poor issues, and estimate sampled functions when the form of the function is unknown.

Artificial neural networks have grown increasingly popular in data mining due to their two main capabilities. First, as databases expand in size, automating data processing becomes more critical. Second, because of their model-free estimators and dual nature, neural networks can be used for data mining in various ways.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?


Artificial Intelligence is one of the most complex and fascinating inventions in human history. In artificial intelligence, computer systems leverage vast amounts of data to perform “intelligent” tasks, such as seeing, understanding, reasoning, and making decisions.

Neural Network VS Artificial Intelligence


The following are the primary differences between neural networks and artificial intelligence.


  • Artificial intelligence is a feature of computers that embody knowledge instead of attempting to carry out calculations provided by user interaction. A neural network, on the other hand, processes signals using interconnected nodes known as artificial neurons.
  • There were early applications of artificial intelligence, such as playing checkers and playing chess, and programs that tracked and reproduced language. In contrast, a neural network model of the brain offers the best solution since it resembles the architecture of biological neural networks.

What Is a Decision Tree?


Decision trees are regarded as the most effective and popular classification and prediction tools. A decision tree is a diagrammatic structure with nodes representing attributes, branches representing results, and leaves holding class labels. 

Neural Network vs. Decision Tree 


The following list compares neural networks to decision trees.

  • In the field of artificial intelligenceneural networks are algorithms modeled after biological neural networks. On the contrary, as a supervised algorithm, the decision tree plays a role in artificial intelligence.
  • An artificial neural network is composed of connected graphs of neurons. In contrast, a binary tree graph is used in a decision tree to assign for every data sample an actual value.
  • As a training goal, a neural network should minimize the errors between predicted and actual values. In contrast, decision tree learning is discovering which rules are optimal based on the criteria you choose.

Supervised Neural Network


Neural network techniques strengthen supervised learning by constantly monitoring model outputs and optimizing the network to go and get closer to the target efficiency. Two different things are required to attain accuracy: labeled data and the algorithm utilized.

Types of Neural Network


A neural network type is how the brain’s functions work in computation, similar to how the brain makes decisions. As a part of artificial intelligence, different neural networks can be used. The following are listed:


1. Feed-forward Neural Network

neural network of this type can exist in both the neural network domain and its extension domain. This network moves only forward until the output node is reached, as its name implies. 


2. Radial Basis Function Neural Network

Data points in these types of neural networks are usually arranged in the form of distances to centers. Typically, there are two layers to these neural networks.


3. Multilayer Perceptron 

A multilayer perceptron neural network contains at least three layers. Data that cannot be separated linearly are classified by this method. In short, it is an entirely connected artificial neural network. This is because every node in one layer is connected with every node in the next layer down.


4. Convolutional Neural Network

Convolutional neural networks use convolutional layers as an extension of the multilayer perceptron. Thus, there can be multiple convolutional layers in a convolutional neural network. Furthermore, layers can be wholly interconnected or grouped.


5. Recurrent Neural Network

There is a type of artificial neural network referred to as a Recurrent Neural Network that stores and feeds back to its input the output of each layer. Using this method, you can predict the outcome.


6. Modular Neural Network

Modular neural networks consist of multiple networks which act independently and perform subtasks. As part of the computation process, the network components don’t interact much. Instead, each of them contributes independently to achieve the desired outcome.


7. Sequence To Sequence Model

In a sequence to sequence model, there are two recurrent neural networks. It comprises two parts: an encoder for processing input and a decoder for processing output. The same or different variables might be used by both the encoder and the decoder.


When To Use Neural Network?

Deep learning, the trendy term for neural networks, is quite popular at the moment. Due to two main factors:

  1. It is now easier than ever for machine learning professionals to create neural networks using “big data.”
  1. In computer science, graphics processing units (GPU) are computer processors specialized for parallel processing. GPU technology has enabled machine learning researchers to train faster, train their neural networks more efficiently, and get better results.

High-dimensional data is best suited for neural networks. The theory and practice of machine learning rely on neural networks, but they’re not the only tool available. The input data structure usually determines whether a neural network or another machine learning technique is suitable for the problem.

Human Perception Vs. Neural Networks

Below are the critical differences between Human perception and Neural Networks.


The scale of biological and artificial neural networks differs significantly. Perceptrons are the mechanical counterpart of neurons and are regarded as an essential building element of artificial neural networks. Human neurons are brain cells that process and transfer information.


The brain consumes approximately 20% of a person’s total energy. Adult brains use roughly 20 watts of power, which is nearly enough to power a bulb. A single Nvidia GeForce Titan X GPU, on the other hand, consumes 250 watts. Using energy rather than food, which humans require for survival, is more efficient.

As a result, we recognize that our artificial and mechanical systems are far less efficient than natural systems. In addition, the heating up of computers makes computing more difficult. Therefore, there is a lot of effort to be done to reduce our systems’ energy consumption.


Biological neurons’ physical qualities alter as they gain experience. Unlike natural neural networks, artificial neural networks have a preset structure that prevents new connections from being added or destroyed.

Final Thought

Machine learning is the process of employing artificial neural networks to create new knowledge. As a result, neural networks are a type of advanced machine learning approach that has found use in many sectors.


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