Questions tagged [machine-learning]

Machine learning algorithms build a model of the training data. The term "machine learning" is vaguely defined; it includes what is also called statistical learning, reinforcement learning, unsupervised learning, etc. ALWAYS ADD A MORE SPECIFIC TAG.

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540 votes
11 answers
614k views

What is the difference between test set and validation set?

I found this confusing when I use the neural network toolbox in Matlab. It divided the raw data set into three parts: training set validation set test set I notice in many training or learning ...
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479 votes
20 answers
168k views

The Two Cultures: statistics vs. machine learning?

Last year, I read a blog post from Brendan O'Connor entitled "Statistics vs. Machine Learning, fight!" that discussed some of the differences between the two fields. Andrew Gelman responded favorably ...
422 votes
5 answers
160k views

How to understand the drawbacks of K-means

K-means is a widely used method in cluster analysis. In my understanding, this method does NOT require ANY assumptions, i.e., give me a dataset and a pre-specified number of clusters, k, and I just ...
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331 votes
8 answers
127k views

Why is Euclidean distance not a good metric in high dimensions?

I read that 'Euclidean distance is not a good distance in high dimensions'. I guess this statement has something to do with the curse of dimensionality, but what exactly? Besides, what is 'high ...
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291 votes
8 answers
204k views

Bagging, boosting and stacking in machine learning

What's the similarities and differences between these 3 methods: Bagging, Boosting, Stacking? Which is the best one? And why? Can you give me an example for each?
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256 votes
3 answers
25k views

How to know that your machine learning problem is hopeless?

Imagine a standard machine-learning scenario: You are confronted with a large multivariate dataset and you have a pretty blurry understanding of it. What you need to do is to make predictions ...
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233 votes
4 answers
106k views

ROC vs precision-and-recall curves

I understand the formal differences between them, what I want to know is when it is more relevant to use one vs. the other. Do they always provide complementary insight about the performance of a ...
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223 votes
9 answers
103k views

Why is Newton's method not widely used in machine learning?

This is something that has been bugging me for a while, and I couldn't find any satisfactory answers online, so here goes: After reviewing a set of lectures on convex optimization, Newton's method ...
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219 votes
13 answers
201k views

What is the difference between data mining, statistics, machine learning and AI?

What is the difference between data mining, statistics, machine learning and AI? Would it be accurate to say that they are 4 fields attempting to solve very similar problems but with different ...
202 votes
4 answers
192k views

What does the hidden layer in a neural network compute?

I'm sure many people will respond with links to 'let me google that for you', so I want to say that I've tried to figure this out so please forgive my lack of understanding here, but I cannot figure ...
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199 votes
3 answers
95k views

Generative vs. discriminative

I know that generative means "based on $P(x,y)$" and discriminative means "based on $P(y|x)$," but I'm confused on several points: Wikipedia (+ many other hits on the web) classify things like SVMs ...
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  • 3,001
197 votes
7 answers
230k views

What are the advantages of ReLU over sigmoid function in deep neural networks?

The state of the art of non-linearity is to use rectified linear units (ReLU) instead of sigmoid function in deep neural network. What are the advantages? I know that training a network when ReLU is ...
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196 votes
10 answers
100k views

Why is accuracy not the best measure for assessing classification models?

This is a general question that was asked indirectly multiple times in here, but it lacks a single authoritative answer. It would be great to have a detailed answer to this for the reference. ...
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189 votes
10 answers
43k views

Why the sudden fascination with tensors?

I've noticed lately that a lot of people are developing tensor equivalents of many methods (tensor factorization, tensor kernels, tensors for topic modeling, etc) I'm wondering, why is the world ...
178 votes
8 answers
338k views

What is the influence of C in SVMs with linear kernel?

I am currently using an SVM with a linear kernel to classify my data. There is no error on the training set. I tried several values for the parameter $C$ ($10^{-5}, \dots, 10^2$). This did not ...
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178 votes
5 answers
63k views

Training on the full dataset after cross-validation?

TL:DR: Is it ever a good idea to train an ML model on all the data available before shipping it to production? Put another way, is it ever ok to train on all data available and not check if the model ...
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173 votes
4 answers
157k views

Choice of K in K-fold cross-validation

I've been using the $K$-fold cross-validation a few times now to evaluate performance of some learning algorithms, but I've always been puzzled as to how I should choose the value of $K$. I've often ...
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172 votes
2 answers
204k views

A list of cost functions used in neural networks, alongside applications

What are common cost functions used in evaluating the performance of neural networks? Details (feel free to skip the rest of this question, my intent here is simply to provide clarification on ...
167 votes
5 answers
114k views

How to intuitively explain what a kernel is?

Many machine learning classifiers (e.g. support vector machines) allow one to specify a kernel. What would be an intuitive way of explaining what a kernel is? One aspect I have been thinking of is ...
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162 votes
3 answers
171k views

Gradient Boosting Tree vs Random Forest

Gradient tree boosting as proposed by Friedman uses decision trees as base learners. I'm wondering if we should make the base decision tree as complex as possible (fully grown) or simpler? Is there ...
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150 votes
9 answers
123k views

Objective function, cost function, loss function: are they the same thing?

In machine learning, people talk about objective function, cost function, loss function. Are they just different names of the same thing? When to use them? If they are not always refer to the same ...
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141 votes
7 answers
147k views

What is the difference between off-policy and on-policy learning?

Artificial intelligence website defines off-policy and on-policy learning as follows: "An off-policy learner learns the value of the optimal policy independently of the agent's actions. Q-learning ...
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  • 7,545
139 votes
9 answers
57k views

Obtaining knowledge from a random forest

Random forests are considered to be black boxes, but recently I was thinking what knowledge can be obtained from a random forest? The most obvious thing is the importance of the variables, in the ...
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129 votes
5 answers
75k views

How does a Support Vector Machine (SVM) work?

How does a Support Vector Machine (SVM) work, and what differentiates it from other linear classifiers, such as the Linear Perceptron, Linear Discriminant Analysis, or Logistic Regression? * (* I'm ...
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  • 7,309
128 votes
8 answers
69k views

Bias and variance in leave-one-out vs K-fold cross validation

How do different cross-validation methods compare in terms of model variance and bias? My question is partly motivated by this thread: Optimal number of folds in $K$-fold cross-validation: is leave-...
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123 votes
6 answers
68k views

Why are neural networks becoming deeper, but not wider?

In recent years, convolutional neural networks (or perhaps deep neural networks in general) have become deeper and deeper, with state-of-the-art networks going from 7 layers (AlexNet) to 1000 layers (...
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123 votes
5 answers
136k views

What are the main differences between K-means and K-nearest neighbours?

I know that k-means is unsupervised and is used for clustering etc and that k-NN is supervised. But I wanted to know concrete differences between the two?
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  • 1,497
117 votes
4 answers
126k views

What does a "closed-form solution" mean?

I have come across the term "closed-form solution" quite often. What does a closed-form solution mean? How does one determine if a close-form solution exists for a given problem? Searching online, I ...
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115 votes
4 answers
211k views

Softmax vs Sigmoid function in Logistic classifier?

What decides the choice of function ( Softmax vs Sigmoid ) in a Logistic classifier ? Suppose there are 4 output classes . Each of the above function gives the probabilities of each class being the ...
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  • 1,605
115 votes
2 answers
141k views

tanh activation function vs sigmoid activation function

The tanh activation function is: $$tanh \left( x \right) = 2 \cdot \sigma \left( 2 x \right) - 1$$ Where $\sigma(x)$, the sigmoid function, is defined as: $$\sigma(x) = \frac{e^x}{1 + e^x}$$. ...
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114 votes
5 answers
20k views

What skills are required to perform large scale statistical analyses?

Many statistical jobs ask for experience with large scale data. What are the sorts of statistical and computational skills that would be need for working with large data sets. For example, how about ...
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  • 2,637
114 votes
7 answers
75k views

Why use gradient descent for linear regression, when a closed-form math solution is available?

I am taking the Machine Learning courses online and learnt about Gradient Descent for calculating the optimal values in the hypothesis. h(x) = B0 + B1X why we ...
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114 votes
6 answers
46k views

Is it possible to train a neural network without backpropagation?

Many neural network books and tutorials spend a lot of time on the backpropagation algorithm, which is essentially a tool to compute the gradient. Let's assume we are building a model with ~10K ...
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111 votes
7 answers
116k views

Is it necessary to scale the target value in addition to scaling features for regression analysis?

I'm building regression models. As a preprocessing step, I scale my feature values to have mean 0 and standard deviation 1. Is it necessary to normalize the target values also?
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111 votes
2 answers
100k views

What is an embedding layer in a neural network?

In many neural network libraries, there are 'embedding layers', like in Keras or Lasagne. I am not sure I understand its function, despite reading the documentation. For example, in the Keras ...
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109 votes
12 answers
54k views

When should linear regression be called "machine learning"?

In a recent colloquium, the speaker's abstract claimed they were using machine learning. During the talk, the only thing related to machine learning was that they perform linear regression on their ...
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109 votes
4 answers
198k views

How do you calculate precision and recall for multiclass classification using confusion matrix?

I wonder how to compute precision and recall using a confusion matrix for a multi-class classification problem. Specifically, an observation can only be assigned to its most probable class / label. I ...
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109 votes
7 answers
15k views

Detecting a given face in a database of facial images

I'm working on a little project involving the faces of twitter users via their profile pictures. A problem I've encountered is that after I filter out all but the images that are clear portrait ...
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107 votes
10 answers
179k views

Validation Error less than training error?

I found two questions here and here about this issue but there is no obvious answer or explanation yet.I enforce the same problem where the validation error is less than training error in my ...
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  • 1,173
107 votes
4 answers
90k views

How to select kernel for SVM?

When using SVM, we need to select a kernel. I wonder how to select a kernel. Any criteria on kernel selection?
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106 votes
4 answers
39k views

Why isn't Logistic Regression called Logistic Classification?

Since Logistic Regression is a statistical classification model dealing with categorical dependent variables, why isn't it called Logistic Classification? Shouldn't the "Regression" name be reserved ...
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106 votes
1 answer
65k views

Conditional inference trees vs traditional decision trees

Can anyone explain the primary differences between conditional inference trees (ctree from party package in R) compared to the ...
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105 votes
11 answers
37k views

Explain "Curse of dimensionality" to a child

I heard many times about curse of dimensionality, but somehow I'm still unable to grasp the idea, it's all foggy. Can anyone explain this in the most intuitive way, as you would explain it to a child,...
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97 votes
1 answer
61k views

What is an ablation study? And is there a systematic way to perform it?

What is an ablation study? And is there a systematic way to perform it? For example, I have $n$ predictors in a linear regression which I will call as my model. How will I perform an ablation study ...
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  • 7,545
97 votes
2 answers
73k views

Solving for regression parameters in closed-form vs gradient descent

In Andrew Ng's machine learning course, he introduces linear regression and logistic regression, and shows how to fit the model parameters using gradient descent and Newton's method. I know gradient ...
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  • 3,545
93 votes
8 answers
124k views

How to compute precision/recall for multiclass-multilabel classification?

I'm wondering how to calculate precision and recall measures for multiclass multilabel classification, i.e. classification where there are more than two labels, and where each instance can have ...
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  • 1,255
91 votes
6 answers
45k views

Feature selection for "final" model when performing cross-validation in machine learning

I am getting a bit confused about feature selection and machine learning and I was wondering if you could help me out. I have a microarray dataset that is classified into two groups and has 1000s of ...
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91 votes
5 answers
38k views

On the importance of the i.i.d. assumption in statistical learning

In statistical learning, implicitly or explicitly, one always assumes that the training set $\mathcal{D} = \{ \bf {X}, \bf{y} \}$ is composed of $N$ input/response tuples $({\bf{X}}_i,y_i)$ that are ...
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  • 1,316
90 votes
7 answers
37k views

Euclidean distance is usually not good for sparse data (and more general case)?

I have seen somewhere that classical distances (like Euclidean distance) become weakly discriminant when we have multidimensional and sparse data. Why? Do you have an example of two sparse data ...
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