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The petrographic composition of coal has a significant impact on its technological and sorption properties. That composition is most frequently determined by means of microscope quantitative analyses. Thus, aside from the purely scientific aspect, such measurements have an important practical application in the industrial usage of coal, as well as in issues related to the safety in underground mining facilities. The article discusses research aiming at analyzing the usefulness of selected parameters of a digital image description in the process of automatic identification of macerals of the inertinite group using neural networks. The description of the investigated images was based on statistical parameters determined on the basis of a histogram and co-occurrence matrix (Haralick parameters). Each of the studied macerals was described by means of a 20-element feature vector. An analysis of its principal components (PCA) was conducted, along with establishing the relationship between the number of the applied components and the effectiveness of the MLP network. Based on that, the optimum number of input variables for the investigated classification task was chosen, which resulted in reduction of the size of the network’s hidden layer. As part of the discussed research, the authors also analyzed the process of classification of macerals of the inertinite group using an algorithm based on a group of MLP networks, where each network possessed one output. As a result, average recognition effectiveness of 80.9% was obtained for a single MLP network, and of 93.6% for a group of neural networks. The obtained results indicate that it is possible to use the proposed methodology as a tool supporting microscopic analyses of coal.
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