Laboratory of Computer and Information Science / Neural Networks Research Centre CIS Lab Helsinki University of Technology

Introduction to SOM Toolbox

SOM Toolbox is a software library for Matlab 5 (version 5.2 at least) implementing the Self-Organizing Map (SOM) algorithm.

SOM_PAK is a public domain software package, written in C language for UNIX and PC environments. It is a semi-official implementation of the SOM algorithm.

Matlab has been steadily gaining popularity as the "language of scientific computing". For quite a while, the Matlab Neural Networks Toolbox has included a couple of functions that are related to the SOM. These are, however, primarily for demonstrations of the self-organization process and, as such, not sufficient for practical data analysis applications. As far as we know the SOM Toolbox is the first such software for Matlab.

So there seemed to be a need also for a Matlab implementation of the algorithms found in SOM_PAK. Moreover, we felt that Matlab might be well-suited for fast prototyping and customizing as Matlab employs a high-level programming language with strong support for graphics and visualization. It is because of these two reasons that we considered it worthwhile to develop the SOM Toolbox.

The SOM_PAK files can also be accessed with the Toolbox, so it is possible to first train the map with the SOM_PAK and then use the Toolbox for map visualization. Read more about SOM Toolbox vs. SOM_PAK >>>.

Highlights of the SOM Toolbox include the following:

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