A Visual Introduction to Machine Learning

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3049155-inline-i-1-machine-learning-is-just-a-big-game-of-plinkoby Angela Guess

R2D3 has created a visualization to explain the basics of machine learning in simple, visual terms. As Mark Wilson of Fast Company explains, “From Google’s auto-sorting Inbox, to Microsoft’s unparalleled image recognition, we owe machine learning our gratitude for many of the magical experiences lurking inside software. But how does it actually work? How can you actually train a computer to discern the nuances of data? Now, the two-person team at R2D3—a self-ascribed “experiment in expressing statistical thinking with interactive design”—has offered an illuminating explanation. They’ve crafted a site that walks you through the creation of a machine learning system through a series of seamless, visual graphs.”

On their site, R2D3 begin the introduction, “In machine learning, computers apply statistical learning techniques to automatically identify patterns in data. These techniques can be used to make highly accurate predictions. Keep scrolling. Using a data set about homes, we will create a machine learning model to distinguish homes in New York from homes in San Francisco.”

They go on, “Let’s say you had to determine whether a home is in San Francisco or in New York. In machine learning terms, categorizing data points is a classification task. Since San Francisco is relatively hilly, the elevation of a home may be a good way to distinguish the two cities. Based on the home-elevation data to the right, you could argue that a home above 73 ft should be classified as one in San Francisco.”

Check out the full visualization here.

photo credit: R2D3

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