Scott Hartshorn
131 days ago
Machine Learning With Boosting: A Beginner's Guide
Machine Learning
Machine Learning - Made Easy To Understand

If you are looking for a book to help you understand how the machine learning algorithm “Gradient Boosted Trees”, also known as “Boosting”, works behind the scenes, then this is a good book for you. Boosting is a widely used algorithm in a variety of applications, including big data analysis for industry and data analysis competitions like you would find on Kaggle. Boosting has, in fact, become one of the dominant winning algorithms on Kaggle.

This book explains how Decision Trees work and how they can be used sequentially to reduce many of the common problems with decision trees, such as overfitting the training data. That method is known is Gradient Boosted Trees.

Is This Book Any Good? Try A Free Sample

If you're reading this book description, you are probably already interested in Machine Learning, and know that Boosting is a useful topic. So the biggest question you have is, is the book good and will it be useful for you. Reviews are one way of determining that, but what was a good or bad read for someone else might be different for you. Fortunaltely Amazon makes a free sample available, and I also have a free sample available on my blog "Fairly Nerdy". Both of those samples are approximately 10% of the book which is hopefully enough to help you decide if this is a good book for you. The sample on my blog is the first 10% of the book, I think that Amazon sometimes sends the first 10%, or sometimes sends other sections. You can get the Amazon sample by clicking "Send a free sample" on the right side of this page. You can get the free PDF sample by going to my blog "Fairly Nerdy" and clicking on the "Our Books" tab at the top of the page. (This book is about halfway down on that page) The nice thing about the sample is that it will be a fast read and give you a good high level understanding of Boosting even if you decide you don't want to dig into the details in the rest of the book

Several Dozen Visual Examples

Equations are great for really understanding every last detail of an algorithm. But to get a basic idea of how something works, in a way that will stick with you 6 months later, nothing beats pictures. This book contains several dozen images which detail things such as how a decision tree picks what splits it will make and how they can be combined using boosted learning.

Python & Excel Files For The Examples

It turns out that Boosting lends itself well to being done iteratively in Excel. And the nice thing about Excel is that it is easy to follow the equations. And if your spreadsheet can duplicate your code, then you know that you understand the process. All of the Boosting examples in this book were generated using Python, but then duplicated in Excel, both of which are available for free download.

Topics Covered

The topics covered in this book are

How do decision trees work
What are some of the failings of decision trees, and where do they differ from how a human would solve the problem
How can multiple decision trees be stacked together into Gradient Boosted Trees
How to use the Boosting algorithm to make predictions
How is the Boosting algorithm different for regression vs. classification with two categories vs. classification with multiple categories
How to use Cross Validation to check your model
How to use Feature Engineering to improve the results from the machine learning algorithm
And More
If you want to know more about how these machine learning algorithms work, but don't need to reinvent them, this is a good book for you
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