Chapter 19 Supervised Learning Overview

At this point, you should know…

Bayes Classifier

  • Classify to the class with the highest probability given a particular input \(x\).

\[ C^B({\bf x}) = \underset{k}{\mathrm{argmax}} \ P[Y = k \mid {\bf X = x}] \]

  • Since we rarely, if ever, know the true probabilities, use a classification method to estimate them using data.

The Bias-Variance Tradeoff

  • As model complexity increases, bias decreases.
  • As model complexity increases, variance increases.
  • As a result, there is a model somewhere in the middle with the best accuracy. (Or lowest RMSE for regression.)

The Test-Train Split

  • Never use test data to train a model. Test accuracy is a measure of how well a method works in general.
  • We can identify underfitting and overfitting models relative to the best test accuracy.
    • A less complex model than the model with the best test accuracy is underfitting.
    • A more complex model than the model with the best test accuracy is overfitting.

Classification Methods

  • Logistic Regression
  • Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA)
  • Quadratic Discriminant Analysis (QDA)
  • Naive Bayes (NB)
  • \(k\)-Nearest Neighbors (KNN)

  • For each, we can:
    • Obtain predicted probabilities.
    • Make classifications.
    • Find decision boundaries. (Seen only for some.)

Discriminative versus Generative Methods

  • Discriminative methods learn the conditional distribution \(p(y \mid x)\), thus could only simulate \(y\) given a fixed \(x\).
  • Generative methods learn the joint distribution \(p(x, y)\), thus could only simulate new data \((x, y)\).

Parametric and Non-Parametric Methods

  • Parametric methods models \(P[Y = k \mid X = x]\) as a specific function of parameters which are learned through data.
  • Non-Parametric use an algorithmic approach to estimate \(P[Y = k \mid X = x]\) for each possible input \(x\).

Tuning Parameters

  • Specify how to train a model. This in contrast to model parameters, which are learned through training.


  • A method to estimate test metrics with training data. Repeats the train-validate split inside the training data.

Curse of Dimensionality

  • As feature space grows, that is as \(p\) grows, “neighborhoods” must become much larger to contain “neighbors,” thus local methods are not so local.

No-Free-Lunch Theorem

  • There is no one classifier that will be best across all datasets.

19.2 RMarkdown

The RMarkdown file for this chapter can be found here. The file was created using R version 3.5.1.