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The Nature of Overfitting

Introduction I would like to talk about the nature of supervised machine learning and overfitting. One of the cornerstones of our data science intensives is giving the participants the experiences of a data scientist in a safe controlled environment. We hope by working examples they can quickly get to the […]

Your Lopsided Model is Out to Get You

For classification problems I argue one of the biggest steps you can take to improve the quality and utility of your models is to prefer models that return scores or return probabilities instead of classification rules. Doing this also opens a second large opportunity for improvement: working with your domain […]

The Shift and Balance Fallacies

Two related fallacies I see in machine learning practice are the shift and balance fallacies (for an earlier simple fallacy, please see here). They involve thinking logistic regression has a bit simpler structure that it actually does, and also thinking logistic regression is a bit less powerful than it actually […]

Surgery on ROC Plots

This note is a little break from our model homotopy series. I have a neat example where one combines two classifiers to get a better classifier using a method I am calling “ROC surgery.” In ROC surgery we look at multiple ROC plots and decide we want to cut out […]

Estimating Uncertainty of Utility Curves

Recently, we showed how to use utility estimates to pick good classifier thresholds. In that article, we used model performance on an evaluation set, combined with estimates of rewards and penalties for correct and incorrect classifications, to find a threshold that optimized model utility. In this article, we will show […]

Unrolling the ROC

In our data science teaching, we present the ROC plot (and the area under the curve of the plot, or AUC) as a useful tool for evaluating score-based classifier models, as well as for comparing multiple such models. The ROC is informative and useful, but it’s also perhaps overly concise […]