Book Image

R Machine Learning Projects

By : Dr. Sunil Kumar Chinnamgari
Book Image

R Machine Learning Projects

By: Dr. Sunil Kumar Chinnamgari

Overview of this book

R is one of the most popular languages when it comes to performing computational statistics (statistical computing) easily and exploring the mathematical side of machine learning. With this book, you will leverage the R ecosystem to build efficient machine learning applications that carry out intelligent tasks within your organization. This book will help you test your knowledge and skills, guiding you on how to build easily through to complex machine learning projects. You will first learn how to build powerful machine learning models with ensembles to predict employee attrition. Next, you’ll implement a joke recommendation engine and learn how to perform sentiment analysis on Amazon reviews. You’ll also explore different clustering techniques to segment customers using wholesale data. In addition to this, the book will get you acquainted with credit card fraud detection using autoencoders, and reinforcement learning to make predictions and win on a casino slot machine. By the end of the book, you will be equipped to confidently perform complex tasks to build research and commercial projects for automated operations.
Table of Contents (12 chapters)
The Road Ahead

ML versus software engineering

With most people transitioning from traditional software engineering practice to ML, it is important to understand the underlying difference between both areas. Superficially, both of these areas seem to generate some sort of code to perform a particular task. An interesting fact to observe is that, unlike software engineering where a programmer explicitly writes a program with various responses based on several conditions, the ML algorithm infers the rules of the game by observing the input examples. The rules that are learned are further used for better decision making when new input data is fed to the system.

As you can observe in the following diagram, automatically inferring the actions from data without manual intervention is the key differentiator between ML and traditional programming:

Another key differentiator of ML from traditional programming is that the knowledge acquired through ML is able to generalize beyond the training samples by successfully interpreting data that the algorithm has never seen before, while a program coded in traditional programming can only perform the responses that were included as part of the code.

Yet another differentiator is that in software engineering, there are certain specific ways to solve a problem at hand. Given an algorithm developed based on certain assumptions of inputs and the conditions incorporated, you will be able to guarantee the output that will be obtained given an input. In the ML world, it is not possible to provide such assurances on the output obtained from the algorithms. It is also very difficult in the ML world to confirm if a particular technique is better than another without actually trying both the techniques on the dataset for the problem at hand.

ML and software engineering are not the same! ML projects may involve some software engineering in them, but ML cannot be considered to be the same as software engineering.

While there is more than one formal definition that exists for ML, the following mentioned are a few key definitions encountered often:

"Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed."
"Machine learning is based on algorithms that can learn from data without relying on rules-based programming."
—McKinsey and Co.

With the rise of data as the fuel of the future, the terms AI, ML, data mining, data science, and data analytics are used interchangeably by industry practitioners. It is important to understand the key differences between these terms to avoid confusion.

The terms AI, ML, data mining, data science, and data analytics, though used interchangeably, are not the same!

Let's take a look at the following terms:

  • AI: AI is a paradigm where machines are able to perform tasks in a smart way. It may be observed that in the definition of AI, it is not specified whether the smartness of machines may be achieved manually or automatically. Therefore, it is safe to assume that even a program written with several if...else or statements that has then been infused with a machine to carry out tasks may be considered to be AI.
  • ML: ML, on the other hand, is a way for the machine to achieve smartness by learning from the data that is provided as input and, thereby, we have a smart machine performing a task. It may be observed that ML achieves the same objective of AI except that the smartness is achieved automatically. Therefore, it can be concluded that ML is simply a way to achieve AI.
  • Data mining: Data mining is a specific field that focuses on discovering the unknown properties of the datasets. The primary objective of data mining is to extract rules from large amounts of data provided as input, whereas in ML, an algorithm not only infers rules from the data input, but also uses the rules to perform predictions on any new, incoming data.
  • Data analytics: Data analytics is a field that encompasses performing fundamental descriptive statistics, data visualization, and data points communication for conclusions. Data analytics may be considered to be a basic level within data science. It is normal for practitioners to perform data analytics on the input data provided for data mining or ML exercises. Such analysis on data is generally termed as exploratory data analysis (EDA).
  • Data science: Data science is an umbrella term that includes data analytics, data mining, ML, and any specific domain expertise pertaining to the field of work. Data science is a concept that includes several aspects of handling the data such as acquiring the data from one or more sources, data cleansing, data preparation, and creating new data points based on existing data. It includes performing data analytics. It also encompasses using one or more data mining or ML techniques on the data to infer knowledge to create an algorithm that performs a task on unseen data. This concept also includes deploying the algorithm in a way that it is useful to perform the designated tasks in the future.

The following is a Venn diagram which demonstrates the skills required by a professional working in the data science ambit. It has three circles, each of which defines a specific skill that a data science professional should have:

Let's explore the following skills mentioned in the preceding diagram:

  • Math & Statistic Knowledge: This skill is required to analyze the statistical properties of the data.
  • Hacking Skills: Programming skills play a key role in order to process the data in a quick manner. The ML algorithm is applied to create an output that will perform the prediction on unseen data.
  • Substantive Expertise: This skill refers to the domain expertise in the field of the problem at hand. It helps the professional to be able to provide proper inputs to the system from which it can learn and to assess the appropriateness of the inputs and results obtained.

To be a successful data science professional you need to have math, programming skills, as well as knowledge of the business domain.

As we can see, AI, data science, data analytics, data mining, and ML are all interlinked. All of these areas are the most in-demand domains in the industry right now. The right skill sets in combination with real-world experience will lead to a strong career in these areas which are currently trending. As ML forms the core of the leading space, the next section explores the various types of ML methods that may be applied to several real-world problems.

ML is everywhere! Most of the time, we may be using something that is ML-based but don’t realize its existence or the influence that it has on our lives! Let's explore together some very popular devices or applications that we experience on a daily basis, which are powered by ML:

  • Virtual personal assistants (VPAs) such as Google Allo, Alexa, Google Now, Google Home, Siri, and so on
  • Smart maps that show you traffic predictions, given your source and destination
  • Demand-based price surging in Uber or similar transportation services
  • Automated video surveillance in airports, railway stations, and other public places
  • Face recognition of individuals in pictures posted on social media sites such as Facebook
  • Personalized news feeds served to you on Facebook
  • Advertisements served to you on YouTube
  • People you may know suggestions on Facebook and other similar sites
  • Job recommendations on LinkedIn, based on your profile
  • Automated responses on Google Mail
  • Chatbots that you converse with in online customer support forums
  • Search engine results filtering
  • Email spam filtering

Of course, the list does not end here. The preceding applications mentioned are just a few of the basic ones that illustrate the influence that ML has on our lives today. It is not astonishing to quote that there is no subject area that ML has not touched!

The topics in this section are by no means an exhaustive description of ML, but just a quick touch point to get us started on a journey of exploration. Now that we have a basic understanding of what ML is and where it can be applied, let's delve deeper into other ML-related topics in the next section.