Review of the self-organizing map (SOM) approach in water resources: Analysis, modelling and application

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The use of artificial neural networks (ANNs) in problems related to water resources has received steadily increasing interest over the last decade or so. The related method of the self-organizing map (SOM) is an unsupervised learning method to analyze, cluster, and model various types of large databases. There is, however, still a notable lack of comprehensive literature review for SOM along with training and data handling procedures, and potential applicability. Consequently, the present paper aims firstly to explain the algorithm and secondly, to review published applications with main emphasis on water resources problems in order to assess how well SOM can be used to solve a particular problem. It is concluded that SOM is a promising technique suitable to investigate, model, and control many types of water resources processes and systems. Unsupervised learning methods have not yet been tested fully in a comprehensive way within, for example water resources engineering. However, over the years, SOM has displayed a steady increase in the number of applications in water resources due to the robustness of the method.


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Sidor (från-till)835-845
TidskriftEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Utgåva nummer7
StatusPublished - 2008
Peer review utfördJa