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Dec 24, 2019 in Data Science
Q: What is bias-variance trade-off?

1 Answer

Dec 24, 2019

Bias: Bias is an error introduced in your model due to oversimplification of the machine learning algorithm. It can lead to underfitting. When you train your model at that time model makes simplified assumptions to make the target function easier to understand.

Low bias machine learning algorithms — Decision Trees, k-NN and SVM High bias machine learning algorithms — Linear Regression, Logistic Regression

Variance: Variance is error introduced in your model due to complex machine learning algorithm, your model learns noise also from the training data set and performs badly on test data set. It can lead to high sensitivity and overfitting.

Normally, as you increase the complexity of your model, you will see a reduction in error due to lower bias in the model. However, this only happens until a particular point. As you continue to make your model more complex, you end up over-fitting your model and hence your model will start suffering from high variance.

 

Bias-Variance trade-off: The goal of any supervised machine learning algorithm is to have low bias and low variance to achieve good prediction performance.

1. The k-nearest neighbour algorithm has low bias and high variance, but the trade-off can be changed by increasing the value of k which increases the number of neighbours that contribute to the prediction and in turn increases the bias of the model.

2. The support vector machine algorithm has low bias and high variance, but the trade-off can be changed by increasing the C parameter that influences the number of violations of the margin allowed in the training data which increases the bias but decreases the variance.

There is no escaping the relationship between bias and variance in machine learning. Increasing the bias will decrease the variance. Increasing the variance will decrease bias.

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