What is supervised machine learning?
Supervised Learning (SL) is a subcategory of machine learning in which our algorithms are trained using well-labeled training data, and machines predict the output based on that data. Labeled data indicates that the input data has already been tagged with the appropriate output. Basically, it is the task of learning a function that maps the input set and returns an output. Some of its examples are: Linear Regression, Logistic Regression, KNN, etc.
To solve a given problem of supervised learning, one has to perform the following steps:
- Determine the type of training examples. Before doing anything else, the user should decide what kind of data is to be used as a training set. In the case of handwriting analysis, for example, this might be a single handwritten character, an entire handwritten word, an entire sentence of handwriting or perhaps a full paragraph of handwriting.
- Gather a training set. The training set needs to be representative of the real-world use of the function. Thus, a set of input objects is gathered and corresponding outputs are also gathered, either from human experts or from measurements. Determine the input feature representation of the learned function. The accuracy of the learned function depends strongly on how the input object is represented. Typically, the input object is transformed into a feature vector, which contains a number of features that are descriptive of the object. The number of features should not be too large, because of the curse of dimensionality; but should contain enough information to accurately predict the output.
- Determine the structure of the learned function and corresponding learning algorithm. For example, the engineer may choose to use support-vector machines or decision trees.
- Complete the design. Run the learning algorithm on the gathered training set. Some supervised learning algorithms require the user to determine certain control parameters. These parameters may be adjusted by optimizing performance on a subset (called a validation set) of the training set, or via cross-validation.
- Evaluate the accuracy of the learned function. After parameter adjustment and learning, the performance of the resulting function should be measured on a test set that is separate from the training set.