What is regression ?

In this article i am gone to share What is regression ? with you..

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What is regression?

Regression works by establishing a relationship between variables in the data that represent characteristics known as the features of the thing being observed and the variable we’re trying to predict known as the label. Recall our company that rents bicycles and wants to predict the expected number of rentals in a given day. In this case, features include things like the day of the week, month, and so on, while the label is the number of bicycle rentals.

To train the model, we start with a data sample containing the features as well as known values for the label. In this case, we would need historical data that includes dates, weather conditions, and the number of bicycle rentals.

We’ll then split this data sample into two subsets.

  • A training data set to which we apply an algorithm that determines a function encapsulating the relationship between the feature values and the known label values.
  • A validation or test data set that we can use to evaluate the model by using it to generate predictions for the label and comparing them to the actual known label values.

The use of historic data with known label values to train a model makes regression an example of supervised machine learning.

Let’s take a simple example to see how the training and evaluation process works in principle. Suppose we simplify the scenario so that we use a single feature, the average daily temperature to predict the bicycle rentals label. We start with some data that includes known values for the average daily temperature feature and the bicycle rentals label. Now we’ll randomly select five of these observations and use them to train a regression model. When we’re talking about training a model, what we mean is finding a function, a mathematical equation. Let’s call it f, that can use the temperature feature, which we’ll call x to calculate the number of rentals, which we’ll call y. In other words, we need to define the following function, f of x equals y. We can then start by plotting the training values for x and y on a chart. Now we need to fit these values to a function allowing for some random variation.

From our example scenario, the plotted points form an almost straight diagonal line. In other words, there’s an apparent linear relationship between x and y. We need to find a linear function that’s the best fit for the data sample. There are various algorithms we can use to determine this function, which will ultimately find a straight line with minimal overall variance from the plotted points. The line represents a linear function that can be used with any value of x to apply the slope of the line and its intercept, where the line crosses the y axis when x is 0 to calculate y. In this case, if we extended the line to the left, we’d find that when x is 0, y is around 20, and the slope of the line is such that for each unit of x you move along to the right, y increases by around 1.7. Our f function, therefore, can be calculated as 20 plus 1.7x. Now that we’ve defined our predictive function, we can use it to predict labels for the validation data we held back and compare the predicted values with the actual known y-values. The predicted values are typically indicated with the symbol y hat.

The plotted points that are on the function line are the predicted y hat values calculated by the function. The other plotted points are the actual y-values. There are various ways we can measure the variance between the predicted and actual values. We can use these metrics to evaluate how well the model predicts. It’s important to note that machine learning is based in statistics and math. It’s important to be aware of specific terms that statisticians and mathematicians, and therefore data scientists use. You can think of the difference between your predicted label value and the actual label value as a measure of error. However, in practice, the actual values are based on sample observations, which themselves may be subject to some random variants.

To make it clear that we’re comparing a predicted value y hat with an observed value y, and we refer to the difference between them as the residuals. We can summarize the residuals for all of the validation data predictions to calculate the overall loss in the model as a measure of its predictive performance. One of the most common ways to measure the loss is to square the individual residuals, sum the squares and calculate the mean. Squaring the residuals has the effect of basing the calculation on absolute values, ignoring whether the difference is negative or positive, and giving more weight to larger differences.

This metric is called the mean squared error. Returning back to our example, the loss for our model based on the MSE metric is 9.79. Is that any good? It’s difficult to tell if the MSE value is any good as it is not expressed in a meaningful unit of measurement. We do know that the lower the value is, the less loss there is in the model, and therefore, the better it is at predicting. This makes it a useful metric to compare two models and find the one that performs best. Sometimes it’s more useful to express the loss in the same unit of measurement as the predicted label value itself. In this case, the number of rentals. It’s possible to do this by calculating the square root of the MSE, which produces a metric known unsurprisingly as the root mean squared error or RMSE.

For example, the square root of 9.79 is 3.13. Our model’s RMSE indicates that the loss is just over three, which you can interpret loosely as meaning that, on average, incorrect predictions are wrong by around three rentals. There are many other metrics that can be used to measure loss in a regression. For example, R-squared, which is sometimes known as coefficient of determination. This is the correlation between x and y squared. This produces a value between zero and one that measures the amount of variance that can be explained by the model. Generally, the closer this value is to one, the better the model predicts.