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NeuroShell Run-Time Server

The NeuroShell Run-Time Server allows you to fire neural networks created with the NeuroShell Predictor or NeuroShell Classifier from either a simple interface, from your own computer programs, from Excel spreadsheets or from a web page (Windows based servers only).  That means you can use the neural network models with new data without using our interface.

The NeuroShell Run-Time Server has several distinct programs:
1. Two different NeuroShell Run-Time ActiveX controls (NSRUN.OCX and NSRUN.DLL) - Distributable
2. NeuroShell Fire program (NSFIRE.EXE)
3. NeuroShell Fire Excel Add-in (NSFIRE.XLA)
4. NeuroShell Run Excel Add-in (NSRUN.XLA) - Distributable
5. NeuroShell Run Wrapper DLL (NSWRAP.DLL) - Distributable

1. NeuroShell Run-Time ActiveX Controls (NSRUN.OCX and NSRUN.DLL)
Use the NeuroShell Run-Time ActiveX controls to embed the firing of your neural networks into your own programs. The Run-Time Server provides two separate ActiveX controls. In your program you simply place a call to a control's method ‘Predict’, passing the location of your trained neural network and the neural network's inputs. The call returns the neural network's output, which you may use as needed inside your program. You may call the method Predict as many times as required for as many neural networks as needed.

NeuroShell Run-Time ActiveX controls work with programming languages such as Microsoft® Visual Basic®, C++, and Borland™ Delphi™. Note, however, that it is much easier to use Microsoft Visual Basic to create applications with ActiveX controls than it is to use other languages. You are strongly urged to use Visual Basic to call ActiveX controls because it makes it much easier to use them.

The NSRUN.DLL ActiveX control encapsulates a method called PredictFromWeb which works in the Active Server Page (ASP) programming environment. This means you can install the Run-Time Server on a Windows-based Web server and fire your neural networks from the ASP through the Internet. The product contains two types of examples of firing the neural networks on the web: one example is for regular ASP programming; the other is for VB.NET programming.


2. NeuroShell Fire Program (NSFIRE.EXE)
The NeuroShell Fire program (NSFIRE.EXE) is a stand-alone program that allows you to interactively enter input values and instantly view the output for one example at a time. It can also create a log file of your inputs and predictions.

 


3. NeuroShell Fire Excel Add-in (NSFIRE.XLA)
The NeuroShell Fire Excel Add-In enables you to fire your neural networks from within an Excel spreadsheet. This program uses the file named NSFIRE.XLA.

There are two ways to fire the neural network from within Excel: the Dialog Box or the FireNet function.

Dialog Box
A dialog box guides you in placing neural network calls into your spreadsheet.

 

Next, specify the range which contains the input values and the column where the output values will be placed. The output of the neural network is placed in the specified column. (You can select multiple rows of data as the input range and the neural network will provide answers for all selected rows.)

FireNet Function Call
To use the FireNet Function, you do not need to start the Add-In from the Excel Tools Menu. Instead you will place a call of the function FireNet in each cell where you want to get results from the neural network. The function FireNet specifies the range of the input values. The output will be placed in the cell that contains the FireNet function. This method recalls the neural network each time the spreadsheet recalculates so the neural network's results are updated.

The following example returns the prediction generated by the neural network stored in the file C:\NEUROSHELL\PREDICTOR\EXAMPLES\BURGER.NET. The neural network's four inputs are located in cells A2:D2. The predictions are made using Enhanced Generalization.

=EZFIRE.XLA!FireNet(A2:D2, "C:\NeuroShell\Predictor\Examples\BURGER.NET", 1)

 


4. NeuroShell Run Excel Add-in (NSRUN.XLA)
This program uses the file NSRUN.XLA that allows you to call a neural network trained in either the NeuroShell Predictor or NeuroShell Classifier from within a cell in an Excel spreadsheet.

This is a version of the program that may be sent to people who do not own either the Predictor or Classifier software. The software that you distribute to your users should include the file NSRUN.XLA, which the user loads as an Excel Add-In.

To use this program the user places a call of the function FireNet in each cell where he/she wants to get results from the neural network. The function FireNet specifies the range of the input values. The output will be placed in the cell that contains the FireNet function. This method recalls the neural network each time the spreadsheet recalculates so the neural network's results are updated.

5.  NeuroShell Run Wrapper DLL (NSWRAP.DLL)
This is a regular Dynamic Link Library (DLL) to call the run-time functions. The name of the DLL is NSWRAP.DLL.  This DLL was built to facilitate the usage of the Run-Time from programming languages such as C/C++ and Pascal.

NSWRAP.DLL represents itself as a wrapper around the NeuroShell Run-Time OLE Automation server NSRUN.DLL. In other words, the NSWRAP.DLL is a client for the NSRUN.DLL server, which can be called from an application program. The sequence of calls in this case may be represented by this diagram:

[End-user application program] -> [NSWRAP.DLL] -> [NSRUN.DLL]

This feature avoids somewhat complex and cumbersome OLE-programming, which is otherwise required to build a client for the NSRUN.DLL.

The nswrap.dll encapsulates 4 functions:

OpenNetwork – This creates a neural network object and reads the neural network file. It gives you back the number of inputs the neural network expects and the number of outputs with which it will respond. Normally, you will already know the number of inputs and outputs. Also, this function returns the level of the Enhanced Generalization, as it was set up when you saved the neural network in the Predictor/Classifier. Predictor always return 1 as the number of outputs, Classifier returns the number of output classes as the number of outputs.

FireNetwork – Once the neural network is successfully opened with OpenNetwork, use FireNetwork to pass inputs to the neural network and receive back outputs, both in double precision floating point arrays which you designate in your program. You will also need to specify the Enhanced Generalization level at which you want to fire the neural network.

CloseNetwork – Execute this when you no longer need to execute the neural network. It will release all memory space and other system resources taken by the neural network. The next time your program needs to execute the neural network, it will have to do another OpenNetwork.

GetMissingDataSpecifier – Returns a special constant value to be used as a substitute of the missing data (if any) in your inputs.

Distribution Rights
The programs labeled above as distributable may be sold or otherwise distributed outside of your company or government agency as part of your computer programs or Excel spreadsheets. You do not have to pay any royalties to provide NSRUN.XLA or NSRUN.DLL with your programs. The programs labeled NOT distributable may only be sent to employees of your company or government agency, but not to anyone else including employees of parent or subsidiary companies or agencies. Programs that may be distributed have the word RUN in their names. Programs that may not be distributed have the word FIRE in their names.

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