Main Content


Class: dlhdl.Simulator
Package: dlhdl

Retrieve intermediate layers results for dlhdl.Simulator object


activations(simulatorObject,image,layername) returns intermediate layer activation data results for the image data in image and the name of the layer specified in layername. The result size depends on the output size of the layer. The layer output size can be retrieved by using the analyzeNetwork function.


result = activations(simulatorObject,image,layername) stores the intermediate layer activation data results for the image data in image and the name of the layer specified in layername in result. The result size depends on the output size of the layer. The layer output size can be retrieved by using the analyzeNetwork function.

Input Arguments

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Instance of the simulator object, specified as an dlhdl.Simulator object.

Input image, specified as a m-by-n-by-k numeric array. m , n, and k must match the dimensions of the deep learning network input image layer. For example, for the LogoNet network, resize the input images to a 227-by-227-by-3 array.

Data Types: single

Layer to extract activations from, specified as a character vector.

To compute the activations of a SeriesNetwork object, specify the layer as a character vector corresponding to the layer name.

To compute the activations of a DAGNetwork object, specify the layer as a character vector corresponding to the layer name. If the layer has multiple outputs, specify the layer and output as the layer name, followed by the character "/", followed by the name of the layer output. That is, layername of the form 'layerName/outputName'.

These limitations apply when extracting activations from layers:

  • A maxPooling2DLayer which has the HasUnpoolingIndices argument set to true has three outputs out, indices, and size. Activations are supported only for the output out.

  • Activations for a ReLUlayer in the branch of a DAG network are supported when the layer is not preceded by a Convolution, Fully Connected, or Addition layer.

  • Activations for the dropout layer is not supported.

Example: 'conv1'

Example: 'mpool/out'

Output Arguments

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Intermediate layer activation data, returned as an array of singles. The array size depends on the layer output size. For example, for the ResNet-18 network pool1 layer, the size of the returned result array is 56-by-56-by-64.


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Rapidly prototype your custom deep learning network and bitstream by visualizing intermediate layer activation results and verifying prediction accuracy without target hardware by emulating the network and bitstream. To emulate the network and bitstream, create a dlhdl.Simulator object. Use the dlhdl.Simulator object to:

  • Retrieve intermediate layer results by using the activations function.

  • Verify prediction accuracy by using the predict function.

In this example, retrieve the intermediate layer activation results and verify the prediction accuracy for the ResNet-18 network and deep learning processor configuration for the zcu102_single bitstream.


  • Deep Learning Toolbox ™

  • Deep Learning HDL Toolbox ™

  • Deep Learning Toolbox Model for ResNet-18 Network

  • Deep Learning HDL Toolbox Support Package for Xilinx FPGA and SoC Devices

  • Image Processing Toolbox ™

  • MATLAB Coder Interface for Deep learning Libraries™

Load Pretrained SeriesNetwork

To load the pretrained network ResNet-18, enter:

snet = resnet18;

To view the layers of the pretrained network, enter:


The first layer, the image input layer, requires input images of size 224-by-224-by-3, where 3 is the number of color channels.

inputSize = snet.Layers(1).InputSize;

Define Training and Validation Data Sets

This example uses the MathWorks MerchData data set. This is a small data set containing 75 images of MathWorks merchandise, belonging to five different classes (cap, cube, playing cards, screwdriver, and torch).

curDir = pwd;
imds = imageDatastore('MerchData', ...
'IncludeSubfolders',true, ...
[imdsTrain,imdsValidation] = splitEachLabel(imds,0.7,'randomized');

Replace Final Layers

The fully connected layer and the classification layer of the pretrained network net are configured for 1000 classes. These two layers fc1000 and ClassificationLayer_predictions in ResNet-18 contain information on how to combine the features that the network extracts into class probabilities and predicted labels. These layers must be fine-tuned for the new classification problem. Extract all the layers, except the last two layers, from the pretrained network.

lgraph = layerGraph(snet)
lgraph = 
  LayerGraph with properties:

         Layers: [71×1 nnet.cnn.layer.Layer]
    Connections: [78×2 table]
     InputNames: {'data'}
    OutputNames: {'ClassificationLayer_predictions'}

numClasses = numel(categories(imdsTrain.Labels))
numClasses = 5
newLearnableLayer = fullyConnectedLayer(numClasses, ...
'Name','new_fc', ...
'WeightLearnRateFactor',10, ...
lgraph = replaceLayer(lgraph,'fc1000',newLearnableLayer);
newClassLayer = classificationLayer('Name','new_classoutput');
lgraph = replaceLayer(lgraph,'ClassificationLayer_predictions',newClassLayer);

Train Network

The network requires input images of size 224-by-224-by-3, but the images in the image datastores have different sizes. Use an augmented image datastore to automatically resize the training images. Specify additional augmentation operations to perform on the training images, such as randomly flipping the training images along the vertical axis and randomly translating them up to 30 pixels horizontally and vertically. Data augmentation helps prevent the network from overfitting and memorizing the exact details of the training images.

pixelRange = [-30 30];
imageAugmenter = imageDataAugmenter( ...
'RandXReflection',true, ...
'RandXTranslation',pixelRange, ...

To automatically resize the validation images without performing further data augmentation, use an augmented image datastore without specifying any additional preprocessing operations.

augimdsTrain = augmentedImageDatastore(inputSize(1:2),imdsTrain, ...
augimdsValidation = augmentedImageDatastore(inputSize(1:2),imdsValidation);

Specify the training options. For transfer learning, keep the features from the early layers of the pretrained network (the transferred layer weights). To slow down learning in the transferred layers, set the initial learning rate to a small value. Specify the mini-batch size and validation data. The software validates the network for every ValidationFrequency iteration during training.

options = trainingOptions('sgdm', ...
'MiniBatchSize',10, ...
'MaxEpochs',6, ...
'InitialLearnRate',1e-4, ...
'Shuffle','every-epoch', ...
'ValidationData',augimdsValidation, ...
'ValidationFrequency',3, ...
'Verbose',false, ...

Train the network that consists of the transferred and new layers. By default, trainNetwork uses a GPU if one is available (requires Parallel Computing Toolbox™ and a supported GPU device. See GPU Computing Requirements (Parallel Computing Toolbox)). Otherwise, the network uses a CPU (requires MATLAB Coder Interface for Deep learning Libraries™). You can also specify the execution environment by using the 'ExecutionEnvironment' name-value argument of trainingOptions.

netTransfer = trainNetwork(augimdsTrain,lgraph,options);

{"String":"Figure Training Progress (16-Jun-2022 16:12:57) contains 2 axes objects and another object of type uigridlayout. Axes object 1 contains 13 objects of type patch, text, line. Axes object 2 contains 13 objects of type patch, text, line.","Tex":[],"LaTex":[]}

Retrieve Deep Learning Processor Configuration

Use the dlhdl.ProcessorConfig object to retrieve the deep learning processor configuration for the zcu102_single bitstream.

hPC = dlhdl.ProcessorConfig('Bitstream','zcu102_single');

Create Simulator Object

Create a dlhdl.Simulator object with ResNet-18 as the network and hPC as the ProcessorConfig object.

simObj = dlhdl.Simulator('Network',netTransfer,'ProcessorConfig',hPC);
### Optimizing network: Fused 'nnet.cnn.layer.BatchNormalizationLayer' into 'nnet.cnn.layer.Convolution2DLayer'
Compiling leg: conv1>>pool1 ...
Compiling leg: conv1>>pool1 ... complete.
Compiling leg: res2a_branch2a>>res2a_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res2a_branch2a>>res2a_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: res2b_branch2a>>res2b_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res2b_branch2a>>res2b_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: res3a_branch1 ...
Compiling leg: res3a_branch1 ... complete.
Compiling leg: res3a_branch2a>>res3a_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res3a_branch2a>>res3a_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: res3b_branch2a>>res3b_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res3b_branch2a>>res3b_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: res4a_branch1 ...
Compiling leg: res4a_branch1 ... complete.
Compiling leg: res4a_branch2a>>res4a_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res4a_branch2a>>res4a_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: res4b_branch2a>>res4b_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res4b_branch2a>>res4b_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: res5a_branch1 ...
Compiling leg: res5a_branch1 ... complete.
Compiling leg: res5a_branch2a>>res5a_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res5a_branch2a>>res5a_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: res5b_branch2a>>res5b_branch2b ...
Compiling leg: res5b_branch2a>>res5b_branch2b ... complete.
Compiling leg: pool5 ...
Compiling leg: pool5 ... complete.
Compiling leg: new_fc ...
Compiling leg: new_fc ... complete.

Load Image for Prediction and Intermediate Layer Activation Results

Load the example image. Save it's size for future use.

imgFile = fullfile(pwd,'MerchData','MathWorks Cube','Mathworks cube_0.jpg');
inputImg = imresize(imread(imgFile),inputSize(1:2));

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type image.

Show Activations of First Maxpool Layer

Investigate features by observing which areas in the convolution layers activate on an image. Compare that image to the corresponding areas in the original images. Each layer of a convolutional neural network consists of many 2-D arrays called channels. Pass the image through the network and examine the output activations of the pool1 layer.

act1 = simObj.activations(single(inputImg),'pool1');

The activations are returned as a 3-D array, with the third dimension indexing the channel on the pool1 layer. To show these activations by using the imtile function, reshape the array to 4-D. The third dimension in the input to imtile represents the image color. Set the third dimension to have size 1 because the activations do not have color. The fourth dimension indexes the channel.

sz = size(act1);
act1 = reshape(act1,[sz(1) sz(2) 1 sz(3)]);

Display the activations. Each activation can take any value, so normalize the output by using the mat2gray. All activations are scaled so that the minimum activation is 0 and the maximum activation is 1. Display the 64 images on an 8-by-8 grid, one for each channel in the layer.

I = imtile(mat2gray(act1),'GridSize',[8 8]);

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type image.

Find Strongest Activation Channel

Find the strongest channels by programmatically investigating channels with large activations. Find the channel that has the largest activation by using the max function, resize the channel output, and display the activations.

[maxValue,maxValueIndex] = max(max(max(act1)));
act1chMax = act1(:,:,:,maxValueIndex);
act1chMax = mat2gray(act1chMax);
act1chMax = imresize(act1chMax,inputSize(1:2));

I = imtile({inputImg,act1chMax});

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type image.

Compare the strongest activation channel image to the original image. This channel activates on edges. It activates positively on light left/dark right edges and negatively on dark left/light right edges.

Verify Prediction Results

Verify and display the prediction results of the dlhdl.Simulator object by using the predict function.

prediction = simObj.predict(single(inputImg));
[val, idx] = max(prediction);
ans = 
'MathWorks Cube'

Version History

Introduced in R2021b