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Published: April 8, 2018 (5 years ago.)

The book in...
One sentence:
A great introduction that ramps up, through three modules with plenty of detailed code examples, to more advanced coverage of many aspects of machine learning.

Five sentences:
This is a straightforward, no nonsense book, or three, that will allow you to go from zero understanding of machine learning to quite advanced, assuming you put in the required time and effort. The code provided is detailed, extremely well explained, often line-by-line, and gives you a solid intuitive basis that will make your journey into the more advanced areas more concrete. The book starts slowly and then moves forward at a steady, but more than manageable, pace, building on the previous, often simplified examples using SKLearn, to reach more modern and advanced techniques using libraries such as Theano and Keras to leverage your GPU. It lacks some of the detail you might want when it comes to mathematical proofs, but it does include plenty math to whet your appetite; supplementing this book with a follow up with an appropriate linear algebra/algorithms math book would probably be ideal. Lastly, at the end of each chapter in the third module there are numerous resources provided for further study in regard to the more advanced topics.

designates my notes. / designates important.


Overall a great book. Would recommend to anyone interested in learning about machine learning.

It is basically 3 books in 1, separated, unsurprisingly, into beginner, intermediate, and advanced modules.

The detailed table of contents wins points with me every time.

The first book holds your hand and offers a very nice, slow, place to start. Compared to the other pair of beginner books I’ve read on the subject, this one was far superior.

All of the code works, which I can’t say about the other books, and there is often a line-by-line explanation following each snippet.

While there isn’t much in the way of real mathematical proofs, there is still plenty of math and what the underlying algorithms look like and do. Any understanding will help over simply using sklearn blindly. This said, after you have some intuitive understanding of what to expect when using various algorithms and libraries, you will be better equipped to tackle a more detailed and abstract exploration of the underlying mathematical underpinnings.

The second book goes back over the same ideas as the first book, but in more detail and with added depth. Great reinforcement learning. Practice, practice, practice!

Book three is considerably more advanced. It assumes you have the stuff from books one and two down pat. It uses the Theano and Keras libraries, which I didn’t have installed so I didn’t play with the code. The little bit of the code I did experiment with had numerous errors. This module included more advanced topics than I was ready for, but it was interesting none-the-less to expand my grammar for now.

Finally, there are tons of references to follow up and expand your understanding of whatever topic may suit your fancy. Again, all in all a great place to start if combined with another more mathematically oriented book.


I would like a more detailed explanation of what is going on here, but, since it is matplotlib that I am not understanding, the lack of explanation can be forgiven. It plots the colored regions of the plots; I’m not sure what the meshgrid function is doing.

# plot the decision surface
x1_min, x1_max = X[:, 0].min() - 1, X[:, 0].max() + 1
x2_min, x2_max = X[:, 1].min() - 1, X[:, 1].max() + 1
xx1, xx2 = np.meshgrid(np.arange(x1_min, x1_max, resolution),
                       np.arange(x2_min, x2_max, resolution))
Z = classifier.predict(np.array([xx1.ravel(), xx2.ravel()]).T)
Z = Z.reshape(xx1.shape)
plt.contourf(xx1, xx2, Z, alpha=0.4, cmap=cmap)
plt.xlim(xx1.min(), xx1.max())
plt.ylim(xx2.min(), xx2.max())

Code Examples

Further Reading

Exceptional Excerpts

“This [The expression of emotion in 20th century books (Acerbi et al, 2013)] study is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it is an example of data-driven science, where previously considered soft sciences, such as sociology and anthropology, are given a solid empirical footing."

“For data to become information, it requires some meaningful structure."

“fill in the missing values through a process of imputation. For classification, we can simply use the statistics of the mean, median, and mode over the observed features to impute the missing values."

“Many machine learning algorithms require that features are standardized. This means that they will work best when the individual features look more or less like normally distributed data with near-zero mean and unit variance. The easiest way to do this is by subtracting the mean value from each feature and scaling it by dividing by the standard deviation. This can be achieved by the scale() function or the standardScaler() function in the sklearn.preprocessing() function. Although these functions will accept sparse data, they probably should not be used in such situations because centering sparse data would likely destroy its structure. It is recommended to use the MacAbsScaler() or maxabs_scale() function in these cases. The former scales and translates each feature individually by its maximum absolute value. The latter scales each feature individually to a range of [-1,1]. Another specific case is when we have outliers in the data. In these cases using the robust_scale() or RobustScaler() function is recommended."

“Bagging is primarily a variance reduction technique and boosting is primarily a bias reduction technique."

“GoogLeNet was designed to tackle computer vision challenges involving Internet-quality image data, that is, images that have been captured in real contexts where the pose, lighting, occlusion, and clutter of images vary significantly. GoogLeNet was applied to the 2014 ImageNet challenge with noteworthy success, achieving only 6.7% error rate on the test dataset. ImageNet images are small, high-granularity images taken from many, varied classes."

Table of Contents

Module 1: Python Machine Learning

· 01: Giving Computers the Ability to Learn from Data

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· 02: Training Machine Learning Algorithms for Classification

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· 03: A Tour of Machine Learning Classifiers Using Scikit-learn

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1.	 Selection of features.
2.	 Choosing a performance metric.
3.	 Choosing a classifier and optimization algorithm.
4.	 Evaluating the performance of the model.
5.	 Tuning the algorithm.
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if misclassification error = 0.089
1 - misclassification error = 0.911 or 91.1 percent.
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>>> from sklearn.linear_model import SGDClassifier
>>> ppn = SGDClassifier(loss='perceptron')
>>> lr = SGDClassifier(loss='log')
>>> svm = SGDClassifier(loss='hinge')
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One of the most widely used kernels is the Radial Basis Function kernel (RBF kernel) or Gaussian kernel

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· 04: Building Good Training Sets – Data Preprocessing

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>>> df.values
array([[ 1.,  2.,  3.,  4.],
       [ 5.,  6., nan,  8.],
       [10., 11., 12., nan]])
>>> df.dropna()
0 1 2 3 4
>>> df.dropna(axis=1)
0 1 2
1 5 6
2 10 11
# only drop rows where all columns are NaN
>>> df.dropna(how='all')
# drop rows that have not at least 4 non-NaN values
>>> df.dropna(thresh=4)
# only drop rows where NaN appear in specific columns (here: 'C')
>>> df.dropna(subset=['C'])
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· 05: Compressing Data via Dimensionality Reduction

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· 06: Learning Best Practices for Model Evaluation and Hyperparameter Tuning

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>>> from sklearn.metrics import make_scorer, f1_score
>>> scorer = make_scorer(f1_score, pos_label=0)
>>> gs = GridSearchCV(estimator=pipe_svc,
... param_grid=param_grid,
... scoring=scorer,
... cv=10)
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· 07: Combining Different Models for Ensemble Learning

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1. Draw a random subset of training samples d1 without replacement from the
training set D to train a weak learner C1.
2. Draw second random training subset d 2 without replacement from the training
set and add 50 percent of the samples that were previously misclassified to
train a weak learner C2.
3.	 Find the training samples d 3 in the training set D on which C 1 and C2
disagree to train a third weak learner C3.
4.	 Combine the weak learners C1 , C2 , and C3 via majority voting.
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· 08: Applying Machine Learning to Sentiment Analysis

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1.	We create a vocabulary of unique tokens—for example, words—from the entire
set of documents.

2.	We construct a feature vector from each document that contains the counts
of how often each word occurs in the particular document.
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· 09: Embedding a Machine Learning Model into a Web Application

· 10: Predicting Continuous Target Variables with Regression Analysis

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1. Select a random number of samples to be inliers and fit the model.

2. Test all other data points against the fitted model and add those points
that fall within a user-given tolerance to the inliers.

3. Refit the model using all inliers.

4. Estimate the error of the fitted model versus the inliers.

5. Terminate the algorithm if the performance meets a certain user-defined
threshold or if a fixed number of iterations has been reached; go back to step
1 otherwise.
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>>> from sklearn.linear_model import Ridge
>>> ridge = Ridge(alpha=1.0)
>>> from sklearn.linear_model import Lasso
>>> lasso = Lasso(alpha=1.0)
>>> from sklearn.linear_model import ElasticNet
>>> lasso = ElasticNet(alpha=1.0, l1_ratio=0.5)
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· 11: Working with Unlabeled Data – Clustering Analysis

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>>> from scipy.cluster.hierarchy import linkage
>>> row_clusters = linkage(row_dist,
>>> row_clusters = linkage(pdist(df, metric='euclidean'),
>>> row_clusters = linkage(df.values,
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· 12: Training Artificial Neural Networks for Image Recognition

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Pylearn2 (http://deeplearning.net/software/pylearn2/)
Lasagne (https://lasagne.readthedocs.org/en/latest/)
Keras (http://keras.io)

· 13: Parallelizing Neural Network Training with Theano

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Can not get Theano to install, Scipy was installed via apt and uninstalling it will also uninstall a number of other programs. So, I skimmed the rest of this chapter. It seems straight forward enough.

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· 01: Thinking in Machine Learning

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· 02: Tools and Techniques

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· 03: Turning Data into Information

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· 04: Models – Learning from Information

· 05: Linear Models

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w = (X^T X)^-1 * X^T y
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· 06: Neural Networks

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· 07: Features – How Algorithms See the World

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· 08: Learning with Ensembles

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· 09: Design Strategies and Case Studies

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Module 3: Advanced Machine Learning with Python

· 01: Unsupervised Machine Learning

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· 02: Deep Belief Networks

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· 03: Stacked Denoising Autoencoders

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· 04: Convolutional Neural Networks

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· 05: Semi-Supervised Learning

· 06: Text Feature Engineering

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· 07: Feature Engineering Part II

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· 08: Ensemble Methods

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· 09: Additional Python Machine Learning Tools

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