Machine Learning Tutorial for Beginners.

Source: Deep Learning on Medium

Machine Learning Tutorial for Beginners.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine Learning is a system that can learn from example through self-improvement and without being explicitly coded by programmer. The breakthrough comes with the idea that a machine can singularly learn from the data (i.e., example) to produce accurate results.

Machine learning combines data with statistical tools to predict an output. This output is then used by corporate to makes actionable insights. Machine learning is closely related to data mining and Bayesian predictive modeling. The machine receives data as input, use an algorithm to formulate answers.

A typical machine learning tasks are to provide a recommendation. For those who have a Netflix account, all recommendations of movies or series are based on the user’s historical data. Tech companies are using unsupervised learning to improve the user experience with personalizing recommendation.

Machine learning is also used for a variety of task like fraud detection, predictive maintenance, portfolio optimization, automatize task and so on.

In this basic tutorial, you will learn-

  • Machine Learning vs. Traditional Programming
  • How does machine learning work?
  • Types of Machine learning Algorithms
  • Challenges and Limitations of Machine learning
  • Application of Machine learning
  • Why is machine learning important?

Machine Learning vs. Traditional Programming

Traditional programming differs significantly from machine learning. In traditional programming, a programmer code all the rules in consultation with an expert in the industry for which software is being developed. Each rule is based on a logical foundation; the machine will execute an output following the logical statement. When the system grows complex, more rules need to be written. It can quickly become unsustainable to maintain.

Machine learning is supposed to overcome this issue. The machine learns how the input and output data are correlated and it writes a rule. The programmers do not need to write new rules each time there is new data. The algorithms adapt in response to new data and experiences to improve efficacy over time.

How does Machine learning work?

Machine learning is the brain where all the learning takes place. The way the machine learns is similar to the human being. Humans learn from experience. The more we know, the more easily we can predict. By analogy, when we face an unknown situation, the likelihood of success is lower than the known situation. Machines are trained the same. To make an accurate prediction, the machine sees an example. When we give the machine a similar example, it can figure out the outcome. However, like a human, if its feed a previously unseen example, the machine has difficulties to predict.

The core objective of machine learning is the learning and inference. First of all, the machine learns through the discovery of patterns. This discovery is made thanks to the data. One crucial part of the data scientist is to choose carefully which data to provide to the machine. The list of attributes used to solve a problem is called a feature vector. You can think of a feature vector as a subset of data that is used to tackle a problem.

The machine uses some fancy algorithms to simplify the reality and transform this discovery into a model. Therefore, the learning stage is used to describe the data and summarize it into a model.

For instance, the machine is trying to understand the relationship between the wage of an individual and the likelihood to go to a fancy restaurant. It turns out the machine finds a positive relationship between wage and going to a high-end restaurant: This is the model


  1. Define a question
  2. Collect data
  3. Visualize data
  4. Train algorithm
  5. Test the Algorithm
  6. Collect feedback
  7. Refine the algorithm
  8. Loop 4–7 until the results are satisfying
  9. Use the model to make a prediction

When the model is built, it is possible to test how powerful it is on never-seen-before data. The new data are transformed into a features vector, go through the model and give a prediction. This is all the beautiful part of machine learning. There is no need to update the rules or train again the model. You can use the model previously trained to make inference on new data.

The life of Machine Learning programs is straightforward and can be summarized in the following points:

Once the algorithm gets good at drawing the right conclusions, it applies that knowledge to new sets of data.

Types of Machine learning Algorithms

Machine learning can be grouped into two broad learning tasks: Supervised and Unsupervised. There are many other algorithms some of them are listed below.

Supervised learning

1. Linear Regression & Advanced Linear Regression.
2. Logistic Regression.
3. Decision Tree.
4. Ensembling / Random Forest & Stacking.
5. Boosting Algorithms.

Unsupervised learning

  1. Clustering.
  2. Recommender System.
  3. Time Series Models.

Challenges and Limitations of Machine learning

The primary challenge of machine learning is the lack of data or the diversity in the dataset. A machine cannot learn if there is no data available. Besides, a dataset with a lack of diversity gives the machine a hard time. A machine needs to have heterogeneity to learn meaningful insight. It is rare that an algorithm can extract information when there are no or few variations. It is recommended to have at least 20 observations per group to help the machine learn. This constraint leads to poor evaluation and prediction.

Application of Machine learning

1. Augmentation.
2. Automation.
3. Finance Industry.
4. Finance Industry.
5. Marketing.

Example of Machine Learning Google Car

For example, everybody knows the Google car. The car is full of lasers on the roof which are telling it where it is regarding the surrounding area. It has radar in the front, which is informing the car of the speed and motion of all the cars around it. It uses all of that data to figure out not only how to drive the car but also to figure out and predict what potential drivers around the car are going to do. What’s impressive is that the car is processing almost a gigabyte a second of data.

Why is Machine Learning important?

Machine learning is the best tool so far to analyze, understand and identify a pattern in the data. One of the main ideas behind machine learning is that the computer can be trained to automate tasks that would be exhaustive or impossible for a human being. The clear breach from the traditional analysis is that machine learning can take decisions with minimal human intervention.

Take the following example; a retail agent can estimate the price of a house based on his own experience and his knowledge of the market.

A machine can be trained to translate the knowledge of an expert into features. The features are all the characteristics of a house, neighborhood, economic environment, etc. that make the price difference. For the expert, it took him probably some years to master the art of estimate the price of a house. His expertise is getting better and better after each sale.

For the machine, it takes millions of data, (i.e., example) to master this art. At the very beginning of its learning, the machine makes a mistake, somehow like the junior salesman. Once the machine sees all the example, it got enough knowledge to make its estimation. At the same time, with incredible accuracy. The machine is also able to adjust its mistake accordingly.

Most of the big company have understood the value of machine learning and holding data. McKinsey have estimated that the value of analytics ranges from $9.5 trillion to $15.4 trillion while $5 to 7 trillion can be attributed to the most advanced AI techniques.


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