So every time I do a GridSearchCV with KFold, stratified or not, I get the same accuracy score and STDev for values of C=1,C=10, and C=100. I then did a special test without the grid search and used stratified k-fold but this time testing individual accuracy per each fold. It does not matter the amount of folds, the result is the same - same exact accuracy for different C values. Is there any reason why this could be? It doesn't happen with a shuffle split cross-validation, for example.

If it makes any difference, my classes are in order (first 40 are the same, second 40 are the same, 3rd 40 are the same in a set of 120), but even the shuffled k-fold yields the same results.


[mean: 0.60000, std: 0.11365, params: {'C': 0.001},
 mean: 0.69167, std: 0.12472, params: {'C': 0.01},
 mean: 0.74167, std: 0.08498, params: {'C': 0.1},
 mean: 0.76667, std: 0.01179, params: {'C': 1},
 mean: 0.75833, std: 0.01179, params: {'C': 10},
 mean: 0.75833, std: 0.01179, params: {'C': 100},
 mean: 0.75833, std: 0.01179, params: {'C': 1000}]
  • $\begingroup$ You say "it doesn't happen with a shuffle split cross-validation" but then write "but even the shuffled k-fold yields the same results." How are both of these statements true? $\endgroup$
    – Sycorax
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @user777 k-fold cross validation and shuffle split are different methods to cross validate, but I'm not exactly sure why they're different. $\endgroup$
    – rb612
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


I suspect what is happening is that once C is 1, the box constraint on the Lagrange multipliers (i.e. $0 \le \alpha_i < C$) is no longer active, so you get the same model no matter what the precise value of $C$ actually is. This is not unusual, but it probably means the model is over-fitting for such large values of $C$.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Would it make sense that's only happening wirh a k-fold CV? $\endgroup$
    – rb612
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ It is difficult to say, if there are a couple of outliers in the data that cause problems, it may be that a more random allocation to training and test sets is more likely to result in a problem. Having said which, a bug in your code is always a possibility... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Dikran. I realized actually that shuffle split generates a new random sequence every time it's called, while k-fold uses the same each time, which would explain this. It's just so strange that such a different C value every time will give the same exact model. $\endgroup$
    – rb612
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ The way to see why this happens is to think of the hard margin SVM (i.e. $C = \infty$); if you can fit one, then a soft-margin SVM with any value of C that is larger than the largest value of alpha for the hard-margiin SVM will give the same result. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 18:43

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