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ReLU stands for Rectified Linear Unit. Linear Unit, I understand, since the function is piecewise linear. But what does rectified mean?

I looked up the definition and it said:

denoting an electric current that has been converted from alternating current to direct current

But I don't quite see how this can connect to ReLU function. While it does have a bend at $x = 0$ indicating a change in direction, not sure how I can work this into the idea of current directions.

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  • $\begingroup$ I always linked it to engineering, a rectifier converts alternating current into direct current. As ReLU gets rid of the negative side of the linear function I think its fitting. Not sure though if thats also what the authors had in mind. $\endgroup$
    – Chillston
    Jun 28 at 8:10

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I think it is by analogy with an electrical rectifier. A rectifier allows current to flow in one direction but blocks current in the other direction. Or if you prefer it allows voltage in one polarity but won't allow a voltage in the opposite polarity. Which is also what a ReLU does.

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