What is the difference between unsupervised and supervised learning in machine learning?

What is the difference between unsupervised and supervised learning in machine learning?

Machine learning affects nearly every aspect of our daily lives. To understand how this technology works and how you can use machine learning, it’s necessary to know the difference between unsupervised and supervised machine learning. The following are essential points regarding the different aspects of unsupervised and supervised machine learning.

Supervised learning

What is supervised learning?

IBM states that supervised learning is a subcategory of AI and machine learning. Supervised machine learning uses labeled datasets to train algorithms to predict outcomes and classify information. In simplest terms, you’ll use (x), an input variable, and (y), an output variable. Using an algorithm, you’ll learn from the input and output of the mapping function. Supervised learning is either classification or regression (prediction).

This type of machine learning can provide organizations with solutions to various digital and data problems. An example is a factory owner who wants to organize thousands of pairs of shoes. The owner could train the machine with information about each pair’s style, size, and color. When new shoes are brought in, the trained system can identify each pair using algorithms.

What are examples of supervised learning algorithms?

Supervised learning algorithms use a learning set of input data that is known to form a model that produces predictions. The following are a few different types of supervised learning algorithms.

Linear regression is for predicting a dependent target or variable based on a particular independent variable. This method will enable you to predict continuous or ongoing values.

Logistic regression can calculate the probability that an event will occur. The binary is a simple yes or no question. For example, logistic regression might determine if an individual is likely to develop certain cancers.

Decision trees are non-parametric learning algorithms for regression and classification tasks. It works by learning decision rules. There are two types of decision trees: continuous variable and categorical variable.

Random forest is an algorithm to use for regression and classification problems. It is a predictive, not descriptive, modeling tool. You can use it to predict what products customers will likely want and who may more likely default on a debt.

K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN) is a non-parametric classifier using proximity to predict an individual data point. This is one of the simpler algorithms. It bases storage and data on similarities, making it easy to classify new data when it appears.

Advantages of supervised learning

Supervised learning works well when there are well-defined problems and predictable outcomes. You’ll want to use supervised learning to predict new outputs from previous data. It is beneficial for many types of computation problems.

Disadvantages of supervised learning

Supervised learning needs labeled data and sometimes has difficulty handling complex relationships. The training process and the computation necessary often take a lot of time. Supervised learning also doesn’t have its own ability to determine features and cluster data.

Unsupervised learning

What is unsupervised learning?

Unsupervised learning is when there is only input data but no output variable. You have an x but not a y. The primary goal when using unsupervised data is to learn more about all the data you already have. Algorithms act independently to discover structures in data. Unsupervised learning fits into machine learning (ML) or deep learning (DL) categories. You would use it for three primary tasks: association, clustering, and sometimes dimensionality reduction.

Unsupervised learning is normally divided into association and clustering. An association learning problem is when you’re trying to discover rules or connections about your data. An example of association data is discovering that individuals who buy one particular product will often buy another similar product. Clustering is discovering how the data is clustered into groups. An example of this is learning the buying habits of different groups of people.

What are examples of unsupervised learning algorithms?

There are several types of unsupervised learning algorithms you might use.

K-means is what you would use for certain clustering problems. This is good for market profiling and customer segmentation.

Hierarchical clustering is an algorithm you might use for dividing clusters in a top to bottom format.

Apriori algorithms are for learning problems about association. It is primarily for databases with transactions.

Principal Component is an analysis method for dimension reduction. This enables you to create one-to-one connections when only a few variables remain.

Advantages of unsupervised learning

With unsupervised learning, there isn’t a need to use labeled data, and there is less complexity since no one needs to interpret labels. Unsupervised learning can go where human minds often can’t visualize, and it can discover hidden patterns. Finally, unlabeled data is easier to obtain.

Disadvantages of unsupervised learning

A few disadvantages of using unsupervised learning include that it is sometimes difficult to interpret results, and there is often a lack of predictable outcomes. The sorting and output are not easy to accurately define, and results are not always useful because there isn’t an output measure or label. It can also cost more since human intervention is often necessary to make sense of patterns.

In conclusion

Main similarities

Supervised and unsupervised learning are subsets of artificial intelligence that use learning regimes. They both involve machine learning, using algorithms to find solutions to problems.

Main differences

The main difference is unsupervised learning does not use labeled datasets. The targeted variable is one of the primary aspects of supervised learning that differentiates it from unsupervised learning. Every record in unsupervised learning is independent without a particular label. Another difference is that unsupervised learning uses data to explain hidden structures. It will infer patterns from unlabeled data without the help of human labels. 

Understanding the primary differences between unsupervised learning and supervised learning is essential. You’ll need to know which type of machine learning to use to successfully make predictions, classify data, and understand the relationships between different datasets.