Machine Learning and its Categories: This is How ML is Done


What is Machine Learning? Machine Learning is a subset of artificial intelligence which focuses mainly on machine learning from their experience and making predictions based on its experience.

What does it do? It enables the computers or the machines to make data-driven decisions rather than being explicitly programmed for carrying out a certain task. These programs or algorithms are designed in a way that they learn and improve over time when are exposed to new data.

How does Machine Learning Work?

Machine Learning algorithm is trained using a training data set to create a model. When new input data is introduced to the ML algorithm, it makes a prediction on the basis of the model.

The prediction is evaluated for accuracy and if the accuracy is acceptable, the Machine Learning algorithm is deployed. If the accuracy is not acceptable, the Machine Learning algorithm is trained again and again with an augmented training data set.

This is just a very high-level example as there are many factors and other steps involved.

Types of Machine Learning

Machine learning is sub-categorized to three types:

  • Supervised Learning – Train Me!
  • Unsupervised Learning – I am self-sufficient in learning
  • Reinforcement Learning – My life My rules! (Hit & Trial)

What is Supervised Learning?

Supervised Learning is the one, where you can consider the learning is guided by a teacher. We have a dataset which acts as a teacher and its role is to train the model or the machine. Once the model gets trained it can start making a prediction or decision when new data is given to it.

Supervised ML – relies on data where the true label is indicated. Example: teaching a computer to distinguish between pictures of cats and dogs, with each image tagged ‘cat” or “dog” Labeling is normally performed by humans to guarantee high data quality. Having learned the difference, the ML algorithm can now classify new data and predict labels (“cat” or “dog”) on previously unseen images.

What is Unsupervised Learning?

The model learns through observation and finds structures in the data. Once the model is given a dataset, it automatically finds patterns and relationships in the dataset by creating clusters in it. What it cannot do is add labels to the cluster, like it cannot say this a group of apples or mangoes, but it will separate all the apples from mangoes.

Unsupervised ML – deprives a learning algorithm of the labels used in supervised learning. Usually involves providing the ML algorithm with a large amount of data on every aspect of an object. Example: presented with images of cats and dogs that have not been labeled, unsupervised ML can separate the images into two groups based on some inherent characteristics of the images.

Suppose we presented images of apples, bananas and mangoes to the model, so what it does, based on some patterns and relationships it creates clusters and divides the dataset into those clusters. Now if a new data is fed to the model, it adds it to one of the created clusters.

What is Reinforcement Learning?

It is the ability of an agent to interact with the environment and find out what is the best outcome. It follows the concept of hit and trial method. The agent is rewarded or penalized with a point for a correct or a wrong answer, and on the basis of the positive reward points gained the model trains itself. And again once trained it gets ready to predict the new data presented to it.

Reinforcement Learning – Example: learning to play chess. ML receives information about whether a game played was won or lost. The program does not have every move in the game tagged as successful or not. but only knows the result of the whole game The ML algorithm can then play a number of games, each time giving importance to those moves that result in a winning combination.

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