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Machine Learning Tools

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Machine learning tools allow computers to become more accurate in predicting outcomes. The computer’s software makes decisions based on experiences rather than programming. The algorithm (basically a series of instructions) collects data on its interactions, and that data is used as feedback for the algorithm, which changes its behavior and responses, improving them over time.

Machine learning tools use algorithmic applications that allow computer systems to learn and improve their responses on their own, with minimal human guidance.  

Machine learning (ML) is a subdivision and support mechanism of AI (artificial intelligence), but it is also used to accomplish specific tasks – such as answering the phone or sorting through data – and has become a separate industry. In the last few decades, the term “machine learning” has often been replaced by “artificial intelligence.” 

There are a variety of machine learning tools. Some of the programs machine learning tools can be used to support are: 

  • Recommendation systems
  • Bioinformatics
  • Object recognition
  • Summarization
  • Speech recognition
  • Prediction
  • Spam detection

Automated Machine Learning (AutoML)

Theoretically, AutoML can be used at every stage of the training process. The automated services in AutoML allow non-experts to develop machine learning models without requiring extensive experience. Common training techniques used by AutoML include meta-learning, hyperparameter optimization, and neural architecture searches.

Automated machine learning is a tool that deals with applying automation to machine learning. 

Carlie Idoine, a senior director at Gartner has said, “AutoML and augmented analytics do not fully replace expert data scientists.” She added, “This is an extension of data science and machine learning capability, not a replacement. We can automate some of the capabilities, but it’s still a good idea to have experts involved in processes that may be evaluating or validating the models.”

The Four Basic Machine Learning Algorithms

There are basically four different kinds of machine learning algorithms: supervised algorithms, unsupervised algorithms, semi-supervised algorithms, and reinforced algorithms.

Supervised algorithms are machine learning tools that rely on human supervision during the training process. These algorithms require a human for programming both input and the selected output, and to present feedback about the response’s accuracy. Examples of supervised learning algorithms include:

  • Linear Regression: A prediction model, it is used primarily for discovering relationships between variables. This machine learning tool is used for forecasting monthly sales, analyzing the effectiveness of marketing and pricing, and assessing risk for loans and insurance.
  • Logistic Regression: Used primarily for binary classification problems. Examples of logistic regression’s uses are spam email, customer churn, and website or ad click.
  • K-Nearest Neighbors: This ML algorithm can be used to solve both classification and regression tasks. It can provide climate forecasting, make stock market predictions, forecast currency exchange rate, and even predict trading futures.
  • Decision Trees: These are used for effectively handling non-linear data sets. The decision tree tool can be used with business, engineering, civil planning, and law.
  • Random Forests: A collection of many decision trees. Random forests lower the risk of overfitting. Its accuracy is significantly higher than the use of a single decision tree.
  • Support Vector Machine: SVMs can be used for applications, such as intrusion detection, handwriting recognition, face detection, gene classification, email classification, and gene classification.

Unsupervised algorithms need a minimal amount of human training. They use a process called “deep learning.” In this learning process, massive banks of training data are used, with the algorithm models providing responses based on the training. These types of algorithms are generally used for complex processing tasks (natural language generation, image recognition, and speech-to-text).

  • Clustering: This allows businesses to develop a generalized understanding of their customers and what guides their buying decisions. It can break a customer base up using age and sex, their purchasing process, or their purchasing history, etc. There are a variety of ML clustering tools. 
  • Data Compression: These unsupervised learning algorithms can help keep data sets small and reliable by using a procedure called “dimensionality reduction.” Data compression assumes much of the data is redundant and can be represented using a fraction of the existing content. The two popular machine learning tools used for reducing dimensionality are principal component analysis (PCA) and singular-value decomposition (SVD).
  • Generative Models: A generative model can generate an image (or text) similar to examples it has been shown. These ML models are designed to discover and learn the basics of a given data set, and then generate similar data. This machine learning tool’s long-term benefit is the ability to automatically learn the data’s basic features.

Semi-supervised algorithms are a mixture of supervised and unsupervised learning. By using small amounts of labeled data and large amounts of unlabeled data, semi-supervised training supports the benefits of both supervised learning and unsupervised learning. This machine learning tool avoids the difficulties of finding large amounts of labeled data and can be applied to a variety of projects. They are often used for sorting, separation, and analysis purposes in speech recognition, web content classification, and text document classification. 

Graph-based algorithms have become a popular form of semi-supervised machine learning tools and are good at connecting the dots. These can be used to represent networks such as airline flights, internet connections, and social network connectivity.

Reinforced algorithms use the concept of “practice,” with rewards and punishments, repeating a process using trial and error, until the algorithm model consistently provides the most favorable outcomes. It is model-free, learning from past experiences and changing its approach as it adapts to a new situation. Reinforced machine learning tools can be used for self-driving cars (trajectory optimization, driving on highways, controller optimization, dynamic pathing, etc.). Other uses include industry automation, natural language processing, engineering, and others. Popular reinforced algorithms include:

  • Q-Learning: This machine learning tool can be used in a variety of fields, such as finance, recommendation systems, network traffic signal controls, and healthcare. It is a very powerful tool for decision-making and optimization.
  • Temporal Difference: An incremental training process that predicts future values within a partially unknown system. Temporal differences can be used for systems performing autonomous tasks, such as robotics and self-driving cars.
  • Monte-Carlo Tree Search: Often described as predicting the next move in a game with the long-term view of winning, the Monte-Carlo tree search can also be used with physics simulations, security, scheduling tasks, and sample based planning. It has also been used in Tesla’s self-driving cars.

Popular Machine Learning Platforms

  • Google Cloud AI Platform: Allows machine learning models to be trained at scale. It combines the AutoML, MLOps, and an AI platform. It includes a number of other features, such as Kubeflow pipelines, deep learning VMs, and various other ML services.
  • Azure Machine Learning: Allows ML models to be developed using simple scripting and coding practices. It delivers MLOps to assist in building, testing, and deploying machine learning algorithms quickly and efficiently.
  • IBM Machine Learning: Provides a combination of various products (IBM Watson Machine Learning, IBM Watson Studio, IBM Watson Openscale, and IBM Cloud Pak for Data). AI models can be developed with open-source tools. The IBM Watson Machine Learning Accelerator supports deep learning. 
  • Amazon Machine Learning: Supports the building, deploying, and running of machine learning applications on the cloud through AWS. It offers the continuous training of NLP and image recognition algorithms. The platform assists with every stage of the ML training, offering ML and AI services and infrastructure.
  • Neural Designer: Offers point-and-click and drag-and-drop tools. Useful for deploying neural network models in the banking, engineering, insurance, retail, health care, and consumer industries. It also provides algorithms for testing analysis, feature selection, data preparation, and response optimization.

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

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