Nonlinearly activated neural network for solving time-varying complex sylvester equation

Shuai Li, Yangming Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

192 Citations (Scopus)


The Sylvester equation is often encountered in mathematics and control theory. For the general time-invariant Sylvester equation problem, which is defined in the domain of complex numbers, the Bartels-Stewart algorithm and its extensions are effective and widely used with an O(n3) time complexity. When applied to solving the time-varying Sylvester equation, the computation burden increases intensively with the decrease of sampling period and cannot satisfy continuous realtime calculation requirements. For the special case of the general Sylvester equation problem defined in the domain of real numbers, gradient-based recurrent neural networks are able to solve the time-varying Sylvester equation in real time, but there always exists an estimation error while a recently proposed recurrent neural network by Zhang et al. [this type of neural network is called Zhang neural network (ZNN)] converges to the solution ideally. The advancements in complex-valued neural networks cast light to extend the existing real-valued ZNN for solving the time-varying real-valued Sylvester equation to its counterpart in the domain of complex numbers. In this paper, a complex-valued ZNN for solving the complex-valued Sylvester equation problem is investigated and the global convergence of the neural network is proven with the proposed nonlinear complex-valued activation functions. Moreover, a special type of activation function with a core function, called sign-bi-power function, is proven to enable the ZNN to converge in finite time, which further enhances its advantage in online processing. In this case, the upper bound of the convergence time is also derived analytically. Simulations are performed to evaluate and compare the performance of the neural network with different parameters and activation functions. Both theoretical analysis and numerical simulations validate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6648717
Pages (from-to)1397-1407
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex-valued recurrent neural network
  • complex-valued Sylvester equation
  • finite-time convergence
  • sign-bi-power function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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