March 2017, Vol. 29, No. 3, Pages 861-866
Since the work of Minsky and Papert (1969), it has been understood that single-layer neural networks cannot solve nonlinearly separable classifications (i.e., XOR). We describe and test a novel divergent autoassociative architecture capable of solving nonlinearly separable classifications with a single layer of weights. The proposed network consists of class-specific linear autoassociators. The power of the model comes from treating classification problems as within-class feature prediction rather than directly optimizing a discriminant function. We show unprecedented learning capabilities for a simple, single-layer network (i.e., solving XOR) and demonstrate that the famous limitation in acquiring nonlinearly separable problems is not just about the need for a hidden layer; it is about the choice between directly predicting classes or learning to classify indirectly by predicting features.