Book Image

Python Machine Learning

By : Sebastian Raschka
Book Image

Python Machine Learning

By: Sebastian Raschka

Overview of this book

Machine learning and predictive analytics are transforming the way businesses and other organizations operate. Being able to understand trends and patterns in complex data is critical to success, becoming one of the key strategies for unlocking growth in a challenging contemporary marketplace. Python can help you deliver key insights into your data – its unique capabilities as a language let you build sophisticated algorithms and statistical models that can reveal new perspectives and answer key questions that are vital for success. Python Machine Learning gives you access to the world of predictive analytics and demonstrates why Python is one of the world’s leading data science languages. If you want to ask better questions of data, or need to improve and extend the capabilities of your machine learning systems, this practical data science book is invaluable. Covering a wide range of powerful Python libraries, including scikit-learn, Theano, and Keras, and featuring guidance and tips on everything from sentiment analysis to neural networks, you’ll soon be able to answer some of the most important questions facing you and your organization.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
Python Machine Learning
About the Author
About the Reviewers

Using Python for machine learning

Python is one of the most popular programming languages for data science and therefore enjoys a large number of useful add-on libraries developed by its great community.

Although the performance of interpreted languages, such as Python, for computation-intensive tasks is inferior to lower-level programming languages, extension libraries such as NumPy and SciPy have been developed that build upon lower layer Fortran and C implementations for fast and vectorized operations on multidimensional arrays.

For machine learning programming tasks, we will mostly refer to the scikit-learn library, which is one of the most popular and accessible open source machine learning libraries as of today.

Installing Python packages

Python is available for all three major operating systems—Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux—and the installer, as well as the documentation, can be downloaded from the official Python website:

This book is written for Python version >= 3.4.3, and it is recommended you use the most recent version of Python 3 that is currently available, although most of the code examples may also be compatible with Python >= 2.7.10. If you decide to use Python 2.7 to execute the code examples, please make sure that you know about the major differences between the two Python versions. A good summary about the differences between Python 3.4 and 2.7 can be found at

The additional packages that we will be using throughout this book can be installed via the pip installer program, which has been part of the Python standard library since Python 3.3. More information about pip can be found at

After we have successfully installed Python, we can execute pip from the command line terminal to install additional Python packages:

pip install SomePackage

Already installed packages can be updated via the --upgrade flag:

pip install SomePackage --upgrade

A highly recommended alternative Python distribution for scientific computing is Anaconda by Continuum Analytics. Anaconda is a free—including commercial use—enterprise-ready Python distribution that bundles all the essential Python packages for data science, math, and engineering in one user-friendly cross-platform distribution. The Anaconda installer can be downloaded at, and an Anaconda quick start-guide is available at

After successfully installing Anaconda, we can install new Python packages using the following command:

conda install SomePackage

Existing packages can be updated using the following command:

conda update SomePackage

Throughout this book, we will mainly use NumPy's multi-dimensional arrays to store and manipulate data. Occasionally, we will make use of pandas, which is a library built on top of NumPy that provides additional higher level data manipulation tools that make working with tabular data even more convenient. To augment our learning experience and visualize quantitative data, which is often extremely useful to intuitively make sense of it, we will use the very customizable matplotlib library.

The version numbers of the major Python packages that were used for writing this book are listed below. Please make sure that the version numbers of your installed packages are equal to, or greater than, those version numbers to ensure the code examples run correctly:

  • NumPy 1.9.1

  • SciPy 0.14.0

  • scikit-learn 0.15.2

  • matplotlib 1.4.0

  • pandas 0.15.2