Using the MNIST Dataset

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The MNIST dataset is a dataset of handwritten digits, comprising 60 000 training examples and 10 000 test examples. The dataset can be downloaded from


The image and label data is stored in a binary format described on the website. For your convenience, we have provided two MATLAB helper functions for extracting the data. These functions are available at

As an example of how to use these functions, you can check the images and labels using the following code:

% Change the filenames if you've saved the files under different names
% On some platforms, the files might be saved as 
% train-images.idx3-ubyte / train-labels.idx1-ubyte
images = loadMNISTImages('train-images-idx3-ubyte');
labels = loadMNISTLabels('train-labels-idx1-ubyte');
% We are using display_network from the autoencoder code
display_network(images(:,1:100)); % Show the first 100 images
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