Neural networks in many varieties are touted as very powerful machine learning tools because of their ability to distill large amounts of information from different forms of data, extracting complex features and enabling powerful classification abilities. In this study, we use neural networks to extract features from both images and numeric data and use these extracted features as inputs for other machine learning models, namely support vector machines (SVMs) and k-nearest neighbor classifiers (KNNs), in order to see if neural-network-extracted features enhance the capabilities of these models. We tested 7 different neural network architectures in this manner, 4 for images and 3 for numeric data, training each for varying lengths of time and then comparing the results of the neural network independently to those of an SVM and KNN on the data, and finally comparing these results to models of SVM and KNN trained using features extracted via the neural network architecture. This process was repeated on 3 different image datasets and 2 different numeric datasets. The results show that, in many cases, the features extracted using the neural network significantly improve the capabilities of SVMs and KNNs compared to running these algorithms on the raw features, and in some cases also surpass the performance of the neural network alone. This in turn suggests that it may be a reasonable practice to use neural networks as a means to extract features for classification by other machine learning models for some datasets. Examining the Use of Neural Networks for Feature Extraction: A Comparative Analysis using Deep Learning, Support Vector Machines, and K-Nearest Neighbor Classifiers

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