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What is Machine Learning ?

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  • August 14, 2021

Machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science that focuses on using sophisticated algorithms to mimic how humans learn, steadily improving its precision. It gives systems the ability to acquire and improve based on experience without having to be explicitly programmed. It is concerned with the creation of software programs that can collect information and use it to master on their own.

UC Berkeley divided a machine learning algorithm’s system into three major components:

  1. Decision-Making Process: ML techniques are often used to produce a forecast. They have the ability to generate a prediction about a trend in the statistics based on some input data (which is labeled or unlabeled.)
  2. Error Function: An error function is used to assess the model’s output. If there are known instances, an error function can compare them to determine the model’s accuracy.
  3. Model Evaluation and Optimization Process: If the model fits the data points in the training set better, the weights are changed to decrease the difference between the known example and the model prediction. The algorithm will repeat this evaluation and optimization procedure, updating weights continuously until a precision point is met.

Types of Machine Learning

Supervised Learning

It is the most straightforward to understand and apply. It’s quite similar to using flash cards to instruct a child.

We can observe from the information provided above in the form of a sample with a label that we are teaching the computer to detect a mango. Here, we labeled the sample to help the computer understand what the input is, and then we provided an unlabeled sample to the algorithm, enabling it to guess the label for the sample and provide insight on whether it anticipated the correct answer or not. Throughout this process, the algorithm will learn to estimate the exact nature of the link between samples and labels. When trained completely, the supervised learning system will also be able to observe a new, previously unseen sample and predict a suitable label for it. It is frequently defined as task-oriented as it is extremely focused on a single job, giving more and more samples to the algorithm until it can do that task properly.

There are two forms of supervised learning:

  • Regression: The system under regression learns from labeled datasets and then predicts a continuous-valued output for fresh statistics provided to the algorithm. It is mainly used if the intended output is a number, such as money or height. There exist different types of regression such as Linear, Logistic, Ridge, Lasso, and Polynomial.
  • Classification: It is the type of learning in which the algorithm should map the newly collected information to one of the two classes in our dataset. The classes should be mapped to either 1 or 0, which corresponds to ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ ‘Rains’ or ‘Does Not Rain,’ and so on. There are also various classification methods, such as Decision Trees, Naive Bayes Classifiers, KNN and Support Vector Machines (SVM).

The following are some real-world applications of supervised learning:

  • Spam filtering: If you use a modern email system, you’ve definitely come across a spam filter. A supervised learning system is what that spam filter is. After being fed multiple email examples and labels (spam/non-spam), these systems learn to filter out harmful emails in advance so that their users are not bothered by them.
  • Speech Recognition: This is the type of software in which you train the system about your voice so that it can identify you. Virtual assistants such as Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri are among the most well-known real-world uses.

Unsupervised Learning

The exact opposite of supervised learning is unsupervised learning. There are no labels on it. Instead, our system would be fed a large amount of information and given the skills to comprehend the information’s characteristics. It can then determine to group or arrange the information in such a manner that an individual can easily comprehend the newly structured information.

Since unsupervised learning is dependent on information and its characteristics, it can be regarded as data-driven. The input and how it is presented influence the outcomes of an unsupervised learning task.

The fact that the vast majority of data in the world is unlabeled is what makes unsupervised learning such an intriguing domain. Advanced algorithms that can make sense of tons of unlabeled data are a major source of potential profit for many companies.

Some forms of unsupervised learning are the following:

  • Clustering: Clustering is the process of grouping together related items. The objective here is to discover patterns in the data points and group them together. It is also used to decrease the complexity of the data when dealing with a large number of variables. There are several clustering algorithms available, including K-mean, hierarchical, SVD, and PCA
  • Association analysis: In this, the data is not labelled. Since the data is not labelled, the algorithm attempts to learn without a supervisor. It is commonly used to uncover significant relationships that are hidden in huge datasets. This connection is typically expressed by rules. Some association algorithms are Apriori and FP-Growth.

The following are some examples of unsupervised learning in real-world practice:

  • Purchasing Patterns: Everyone’s purchasing patterns are stored in a database someplace, and that data is actively being purchased and sold at this time. These purchase patterns can be utilized in unsupervised learning algorithms to classify clients into purchasing segments that are similar. This assists businesses in marketing to these segmented groups and can even mimic recommendation systems.
  • Grouping Customer Feedbacks: This can assist businesses in discovering underlying patterns to difficulties that their consumers experience and resolving these issues, such as by enhancing a product or creating a FAQ to address frequent issues. If you’ve ever reported a concern or complaint or filed a bug report, it’s likely that it was put into an unsupervised learning algorithm that grouped it with other similar problems.

Reinforcement Learning

Reinforcement learning (RL) is an agent’s capability to adapt to the environment and determine the optimum outcome. It is based on the hit-or-miss approach. For every correct or incorrect answer, the agent is awarded or penalised with a point. Based on the positive reward points earned, the model trains itself. Once it has successfully trained and learned, It will be considered ready to predict new data.

The following are some real-world applications of reinforcement learning:

  • Gaming: Learning to play games is one of the most popular examples of reinforcement algorithm. AlphaZero and AlphaGo, Google’s RL applications, recently learnt to play the game Go.
  • Optimum Utilization of Resources: Reinforcement learning is beneficial for exploring complex settings. It can deal with the necessity to strike a balance between several criteria. For example, Google’s data centres employed RL to strike a compromise between the necessity to meet our electricity requirements while also reducing expenditures.
  • Self-Driving Technology: Motion planning, controller and trajectory optimization, dynamic pathing,  and scenario-based learning policies for highways are some of the self-driving technology applications where RL can be used. Learning automated parking policies, for example, can help with parking
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): Text summarization, and machine translation are some applications of reinforcement learning in NLP.
  • Healthcare: Patients in healthcare can benefit from policies taught by reinforcement learning systems. Without prior knowledge of the mathematical model of biological systems, RL can develop optimal policies based on previous experiences. It makes this method more applicable in healthcare than other control-based systems.