Tag: unsupervised learning algorithm

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – The three main categories of machine learning. Why these boundaries have been drawn and what they look like will be discussed in this article. The knowledge about this is an elementary part to understand machine learning correctly and to be able to apply it to data in a meaningful way.

This figure contrasts Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning.
Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Overview

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Machine Learning Categories

Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence. While AI deals with the functioning of artificial intelligence and compares it with the functioning of the human brain, machine learning is a collection of mathematical methods of pattern recognition. If you want to know more about the differences between Machine Learning, AI and Deep Learning, read our article on the subject. IT systems should be given the ability to automatically learn from experience and improve. Algorithms play a central role here. These can be classified into different learning categories.

In the following figures the three main categories of machine learning methods are shown.

This figure shows Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning in the machine learning context.
Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Machine Learning Context

In the meantime, there are many more categories, some of which are hybrids of the individual main categories. One example is semi-supervised learning. This is certainly also a major machine learning topic, but has been left out for the time being for the sake of simplicity.

What is supervised learning?

In supervised learning, the machine learning algorithm iteratively learns the dependencies between data points. The output to be learned is specified in advance and the learning process is supervised by matching the predictions. How the The optimized algorithm is to apply the learned patterns to unknown data to make predictions.

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning - This figure shows the basic principle of supervised learning.
Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Supervised Learning

Supervised learning methods can be applied to regression, i.e., prediction, or trend prediction, as well as classification problems.

What is supervised classification?

In classification, abstract classes are formed in order to delimit and order data in a meaningful way. For this purpose, objects are obtained on the basis of certain similar characteristics and structured among each other.

Decision trees can be used as prediction models to create a hierarchical structure, or the feature values can be assigned as class labels and in the form of a vector.

In the following figure the most important supervised classification algorithms are listed.

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning - This figure shows the main algorithms of supervised learning.
Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Main Algorithms of Supervised Learning.

What is supervised regression?

On the other hand, supervised regression algorithms can be used to make predictions and infer causal relationships between independent and dependent variables.
For example, linear regression can be used to fit the data to a straight line or, conversely, to fit a line to the data object.
We have discussed the exact process of linear regression here in this article.

What is unsupervised learning?

In unsupervised learning, patterns are determined in data without initial patterns and relationships being known.
Especially in complex tasks, these methods can be useful to find solutions that would hardly be solvable by hand. An example is autonomous driving, or large biochemical systems with many interactions.
One key to success is a huge data set. The more data available, the more accurate models can be created.

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning - This figure shows the basic principle of unsupervised learning.
Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Unsupervised Learning

In unsupervised machine learning methods, two basic principles, which also classify the algorithms used, can be distinguished. The clustering and the dimensional reduction.

What is unsupervised clustering?

The main goal of unsupervised clustering is to create collections of data elements that are similar to each other, but dissimilar to elements in other clusters. The figure below shows some of the main clustering algorithms.

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning - This figure shows the main algorithms of unsupervised learning.
Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Main algorithms of unsupervised learning.

The clustering algorithms differ primarily in the cluster creation process, but also in the definition of such clusters. Thus, the relationships between clusters can also be used and hierarchical relationships can be explored.

What is unsupervised dimensional reduction?

With a high number of features, high dimensional relations can be translated low dimensional with these transformation methods. The goal is to keep the loss of information as small as possible.
The reduction methods can be divided into two main categories: Methods from linear algebra and from manifold learning.

Manifold learning is an approach to nonlinear dimensionality reduction. Algorithms for this task are based on the idea that they can learn the dimensionality of the data without a given classification and project it in a low-dimensional way.
For example, from the field of linear algebra, matrix factorization methods can be used for dimensionality reduction.

What is reinforcement learning?

In reinforcement learning, a program, a so-called agent, should independently develop a strategy to perform actions in an environment. For this purpose, positive or negative reinforcements are conveyed, which describe the interaction interactions of the agent with the environment. In other words, immediate feedback on an executed task. The program should maximize rewards or minimize punishments. The environment is a kind of simulation scenario that the agent has to explore.
The following figure describes the interactions of all components of a reinforcement learning process.

Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning - This figure shows the main principle of reinforcement learning.
Supervised vs Unsupervised vs Reinforcement Learning – Main principle of reinforcement learning.

There are two basic types of reinforcement learning.
Namely, whether the environment is model-based or not.
In model-based RL, the agent uses predictions of the environment response during learning or action.
If no model is available, the data is generated by trial and error.

AutoEncoder – What Is It? And What Is It Used For?

AutoEncoder – In data science, we often encounter multidimensional data relationships. Understanding and representing these is often not straightforward. But how do you effectively reduce the dimension without reducing the information content?

Unsupervised dimension reduction

One possibility is offered by unsupervised machine learning algorithms, which aim to code high-dimensional data as effectively as possible in a low-dimensional way.
If you don’t know the difference between unsupervised, supervised and reinforcement learning, check out this article we wrote on the topic.

What is an AutoEncoder?

The AutoEncoder is an artificial neural network that is used to unsupervised reduce the data dimensions.
The network usually consists of three or more layers. The gradient calculation is usually done with a backpropagation algorithm. The network thus corresponds to a feedforward network that is fully interconnected layer by layer.


AutoEncoder types are many. The following table lists the most common variations.

The figure shows all common AutoEncoder types
AutoEncoder types

However, the basic structure of all variations is the same for all types.

Basic Structure

Each AutoEncoder is characterized by an encoding and a decoding side, which are connected by a bottleneck, a much smaller hidden layer.

The following figure shows the basic network structure.

The figure shows the basic AutoEncoder structure.
AutoEncoder model architecture

During encoding, the dimension of the input information is reduced. The average value of the information is passed on and the information is compressed in such a way.
In the decoding part, the compressed information is to be used to reconstruct the original data. For this purpose, the weights are then adjusted via backpropagation.
In the output layer, each neuron then has the same meaning as the corresponding neuron in the input layer.

Autoencoder vs Restricted Boltzmann Machine (RBM)

Restricted Boltzmann Machines are also based on a similar idea. These are undirected graphical models useful for dimensionality reduction, classification, regression, collaborative filtering, and feature learning. However, these take a stochastic approach. Thus, stochastic units with a particular distribution are used instead of the deterministic distribution.

RBMs are designed to find the connections between visible and hidden random variables. How does the training work?
The hidden biases generate the activations during forward traversal and the visible layer biases generate learning of the reconstruction during backward traversal.


Since the random initialization of weights in neural networks at the beginning of training is not always optimal, it makes sense to pre-train. The task of training is to minimize an error or a reconstruction in order to find the most efficient compact representation for input data.

The figure shows the pretraining procedure of an autoencoder according to Hinton.
Training Stacked Autoencoder

The method was developed by Geoffrey Hinton and is primarily for training complex autoencoders. Here, the neighboring layers are treated as a Restricted Boltzmann Machine. Thus, a good approximation is achieved and fine-tuning is done with a backpropagation.