Book Image

Python Machine Learning By Example

By : Yuxi (Hayden) Liu
Book Image

Python Machine Learning By Example

By: Yuxi (Hayden) Liu

Overview of this book

Data science and machine learning are some of the top buzzwords in the technical world today. A resurging interest in machine learning is due to the same factors that have made data mining and Bayesian analysis more popular than ever. This book is your entry point to machine learning. This book starts with an introduction to machine learning and the Python language and shows you how to complete the setup. Moving ahead, you will learn all the important concepts such as, exploratory data analysis, data preprocessing, feature extraction, data visualization and clustering, classification, regression and model performance evaluation. With the help of various projects included, you will find it intriguing to acquire the mechanics of several important machine learning algorithms – they are no more obscure as they thought. Also, you will be guided step by step to build your own models from scratch. Toward the end, you will gather a broad picture of the machine learning ecosystem and best practices of applying machine learning techniques. Through this book, you will learn to tackle data-driven problems and implement your solutions with the powerful yet simple language, Python. Interesting and easy-to-follow examples, to name some, news topic classification, spam email detection, online ad click-through prediction, stock prices forecast, will keep you glued till you reach your goal.
Table of Contents (9 chapters)

Installing software and setting up

For most projects in this book we need scikit-learn (refer to, and matplotlib (refer to, Both packages require NumPy, but we also need SciPy for sparse matrices as mentioned before. The scikit-learn library is a machine learning package, which is optimized for performance as a lot of the code runs almost as fast as equivalent C code. The same statement is true for NumPy and SciPy. There are various ways to speed up the code, however they are out of scope for this book, so if you want to know more, please consult the documentation.

matplotlib is a plotting and visualization package. We can also use the seaborn package for visualization. Seaborn uses matplotlib under the hood. There are several other Python visualization packages that cover different usage scenarios. matplotlib and seaborn are mostly useful for the visualization for small to medium datasets. The NumPy package offers the ndarray class and various useful array functions. The ndarray class is an array, that can be one or multi-dimensional. This class also has several subclasses representing matrices, masked arrays, and heterogeneous record arrays. In machine learning we mainly use NumPy arrays to store feature vectors or matrices composed of feature vectors. SciPy uses NumPy arrays and offers a variety of scientific and mathematical functions. We also require the pandas library for data wrangling.

In this book, we will use Python 3. As you may know, Python 2 will no longer be supported after 2020, so I strongly recommend switching to Python 3. If you are stuck with Python 2 you should still be able to modify the example code to work for you. In my opinion, the Anaconda Python 3 distribution is the best option. Anaconda is a free Python distribution for data analysis and scientific computing. It has its own package manager, conda. The distribution includes more than 200 Python packages, which makes it very convenient. For casual users, the Miniconda distribution may be the better choice. Miniconda contains the conda package manager and Python.

The procedures to install Anaconda and Miniconda are similar. Obviously, Anaconda takes more disk space. Follow the instructions from the Anaconda website at First, you have to download the appropriate installer for your operating system and Python version. Sometimes you can choose between a GUI and a command line installer. I used the Python 3 installer, although my system Python version is 2.7. This is possible since Anaconda comes with its own Python. On my machine the Anaconda installer created an anaconda directory in my home directory and required about 900 MB. The Miniconda installer installs a miniconda directory in your home directory. Installation instructions for NumPy are at

Alternatively install NumPy with pip as follows:

$ [sudo] pip install numpy

The command for Anaconda users is:

$ conda install numpy

To install the other dependencies, substitute NumPy by the appropriate package. Please read the documentation carefully, not all options work equally well for each operating system. The pandas installation documentation is at