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Table of contents
What is ResNet?
Why is ResNet used?
Residual blocks: The building blocks of ResNet
ResNet Architecture
Variations of ResNet
Difference between ResNet-V1 and ResNet-V2
Implementing ResNet using Keras
What is the difference between ResNet and ResNet50?
Frequently Asked Questions
How is padding applied to the skip layer?
What are the practical benefits of ResNet?
Is ResNet a CNN or RNN?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

ResNet Architecture

Author Md Yawar
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Deep Learning has gained a lot of importance in recent times due to its ability to solve a plethora of problems with great accuracy. Machine learning practitioners add more and more layers to neural networks to solve complex problems. But, as we keep adding the layers, the model becomes difficult to train. The improvement in the accuracy stops and can degrade also. To overcome this problem, we use ResNet. Let us dive deeper into this topic and see how we can implement this in our model.

resnet 50 architecture”

Also Read About, Resnet 50 Architecture

What is ResNet?

ResNet was proposed in 2015 by Kaiming He, Xiangyu Zhang, Shaoqing Ren, and Jian Sun in their paper “Deep Residual Learning for Image Recognition[1]”. ResNet is the short form of Residual Network. It won ILSVRC 2015, it also won COCO 2015 competition in ImageNet Detection, ImageNet localization, Coco detection, and Coco segmentation. ResNet is one of the most popular deep learning models used in practice.

Below is the result of the ILSVRC 2015 competition on the ImageNet test set. The lowest error rate of 3.57% crowned ResNet as the winner.

Method top-5 err.  (test)

VGG[41] (ILSVRC'14)

GoogLeNet [44] (ILSVRC'14)



VGG [41] (v5)

PReLU - net [13]

BN - inception [16] 




ResNet (ILSVRC'14) 3.57
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Why is ResNet used?

To get better accuracy from a deep learning model, we use more and more layers. By adding more layers, we can learn more about the complex features of the input. This works for fewer layers, but as we keep on increasing the number of layers, we are faced with problems such as vanishing gradient or exploding gradient. Vanishing gradient is caused when the gradient becomes close to zero. If the gradient becomes too large, it is known as exploding gradient. This decreases the accuracy of the model. 

While training the deep learning model, the gradient is backpropagated to the previous layers. As we increase the number of layers, the gradient becomes very small due to repeated multiplication, and its performance is decreased.

Why is ResNet used?

We can see above, The 56 layered model is giving higher error than the 20 layered model both in training and in test data. It is not due to overfitting because the training error is also high. This problem was mitigated by the arrival of ResNet. 

Residual blocks: The building blocks of ResNet

Residual blocks are the building blocks of ResNet. Let us look at these residual blocks.

building blocks of resnet

We can understand the structure of the residual blocks from the above image. As we can see, there is a direct connection between some layers, which skips the in-between layers. This is called skip connection and is the core of residual blocks. Due to these skip connections, the output is changed.

Without these skip connections, the input (X) is passed through all the layers in between and is multiplied by the corresponding weights of the layer and then added by a bias term. Then it goes through an activation function to give us the final outcome.

The authors of the original paper state this as “Formally, denoting the desired underlying mapping as H(x), we let the stacked nonlinear layers fit another mapping of F(x) := H(x)−x. The original mapping is recast into F(x)+x.[1] 

Sometimes the dimensions of the input differ from that of the output. To overcome this, we can:

  1. We can use padding in the skip connections to increase their dimensions 
  2. We can add 1X1 convolutional layers to the input. This method is called the projection method.


Any layer that decreases the performance of the model is skipped due to regularization.

ResNet Architecture

ResNet takes a 34 layered plain architecture and then adds then skips the connections in between the layers. The plain architecture is inspired by VGG-19. Below is a visual representation of ResNet.

ResNet Architecture

Variations of ResNet

After the huge success of ResNet, it was researched thoroughly, and some new variants of ResNet were created. Let us look at some of these variants of ResNet.

There are mainly two versions of ResNet, ResNet version 1 ( ResNet-V1) and ResNet version 2 (ResNet-V2).

Variations of ResNet

ResNet-V1 adds a second non-linearity after the addition of F(X) and X. ResNet-V2, on the other hand, removed this non-linearity.

ResNet-V1 performs convolution after the batch normalization and ReLU activation. ResNet-V2 uses Batch Normalization and ReLU activation to the input before its multiplication with the weight(W) matrix.

Difference between ResNet-V1 and ResNet-V2

The main difference between ResNet-V2 and ResNet-V1 is that ResNet-V2 uses batch normalization before each weight layer.

ResNET -V1 ResNET -V2

y= xl + F( xl , {Wi})

xl+1=H(x) = ReLU(y)

y = h(xl) + F(xl, {Wi})

xl+1=H(x) = f(y)

y= Additional Output

xl+1 = Input to Next Block

y= Additional Output

h(xl) = Generalized form of input 

            For Resnet V1, h(xl) = xl

f = Function applied to ‘y’

     For Resnet V1, f = ReLU  

     For Resnet V2, f is an identity mapping.

We have ResNet architectures that use different layers for the same concept. We have ResNet-50, ResNet-101, ResNet-110, ResNet-152, ResNet-164, ResNet-1202, etc. The two digits followed by ResNet give us the number of layers used. For example, ResNet-50 means ResNet architecture with 50 layers.

There are also some interpretations of ResNet that use the ‘skip layer’ concept. For example, DenseNet, and Deep Network with Stochastic Depth.

Implementing ResNet using Keras

Keras provides support for the following versions of ResNet:

  1. ResNet50
  2. ResNet50V2
  3. ResNet101
  4. ResNet101V2
  5. ResNet152
  6. ResNet152V2

Let us implement ResNet50 by using Keras:

Importing the library:

from keras.applications.resnet50 import ResNet50


We will download a base model that has ResNet50 architecture with pre-trained weights

base_model = ResNet50(include_top=False, weights='imagenet')


Adding a fully connected layer having 2048 neurons with ReLU activation

x = Dense(2048, activation='relu')(x)


Adding a fully connected layer that will classify the input. The number of neurons depends on the number of classifications that we want to have. For example, if we want to classify our input to give the probability of it being either a car or a truck. The layer will be:

predict = Dense(2, activation='softmax')(x)


The final model that we want to train:

model = Model(inputs=base_model.input, outputs=predict)


The training data and the test data will be provided by us. We will have to provide the path to the training and the test set, set the target size, and the batch size. An example of how we can prepare our training dataset for training:

training_set = train_datagen.flow_from_directory('training_set',
                                                target_size = (224, 224),
                                                batch_size = 48,
                                                class_mode = 'categorical')


Training the model for 50 epochs:

                        steps_per_epoch = 9000,
                        epochs = 50,
                        validation_data = test_set,
                        validation_steps = 3000)


We can save the weights in the current directory by using:



To get the predictions:

test_image = “..location-of-the-image/image.jpg”
result = classifier.predict(test_image)


                       Test image


What is the difference between ResNet and ResNet50?

Aspect ResNet ResNet50
Architecture Basic Residual Network architecture Residual Network with 50 layers
Depth Typically has fewer layers (e.g., 18) Specifically designed with 50 layers
Parameters Fewer parameters More parameters for deeper networks
Performance Suitable for simpler tasks Suitable for complex tasks
Computational Requires less computational resources Requires more computational resources
Usage Used in less complex applications Commonly used in deep learning tasks

Frequently Asked Questions

How is padding applied to the skip layer?

The skip connection is padded with zeroes to increase its dimensions.

What are the practical benefits of ResNet?

We can load a pre-trained version of the network trained on over a million images and can easily use it to classify our images on over 1000 categories.

Is ResNet a CNN or RNN?

ResNet is a CNN.


This article was an exhaustive look at ResNet. We talked about the fantastic results shown by ResNet. We also talked about why it is needed and its benefits. After that, we dived deeper into ResNet and looked into the concept behind it and its different variants. Finally, we understood how it could be implemented in our code using Keras. You can read the original paper on ResNet here.

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