There are lots of discussions and research about tips and tricks that are helpful for convolutional networks training. (Like in this paper). The new architectures/optimizers/layers emerge very often, especially in the fields of computer vision and NLP. I wonder is there something similar for the fully connected networks applied to the tabular/structured data classification?

The most widely used approach I see is to use embeddings layers, concatenate them with numerical input, and pass it through the stack of fully-connected layers (probably with dropouts and batch normalization). Are there any other recommendations or state-of-the-art methods applied for the tabular data, any custom architectures suitable for this task? Or the "simple" approach outlined above is the best available solution?

I understand that people mostly use boosted trees or linear models in this case but I would like to investigate possible solutions available in the Deep Learning world.

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    $\begingroup$ While the focus is on debugging networks, there are a number of tricks suggested here: stats.stackexchange.com/questions/352036/… $\endgroup$
    – Sycorax
    Jan 27, 2020 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ Very thorough and elaborated post! Thank you. I'll definitely go through it. $\endgroup$
    – devforfu
    Jan 29, 2020 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are lots of them. I haven't read the second edition (published 2012), but the first is very good.

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Somewhat old now, but the Comp.ai.neural-nets FAQ list also has plenty of good advice that is still valid today.

  • $\begingroup$ Great, thank you! Actually, some time ago I've already encountered the reference to this book somewhere but didn't pay proper attention to it :) $\endgroup$
    – devforfu
    Jan 29, 2020 at 15:10

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