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Machine Learning Tutorial: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Understanding the Basics

  • May 19, 2023
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Bharani Kumar Depuru is a well known IT personality from Hyderabad. He is the Founder and Director of Innodatatics Pvt Ltd and 360DigiTMG. Bharani Kumar is an IIT and ISB alumni with more than 18+ years of experience, he held prominent positions in the IT elites like HSBC, ITC Infotech, Infosys, and Deloitte. He is a prevalent IT consultant specializing in Industrial Revolution 4.0 implementation, Data Analytics practice setup, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Industrial IoT, Business Intelligence and Business Management. Bharani Kumar is also the chief trainer at 360DigiTMG with more than Ten years of experience and has been making the IT transition journey easy for his students. 360DigiTMG is at the forefront of delivering quality education, thereby bridging the gap between academia and industry.

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Welcome to the world of Machine Learning! One of the most hottest and most in-demand skills in the IT sector in recent years has been machine learning. It has transformed how we work and live, and it has the power to drastically alter practically every facet of our existence. If you're a beginner who's interested in machine learning, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of this field. But don't worry, this tutorial is designed specifically for beginners like you. In this tutorial, we'll start with the basics and gradually move towards more advanced concepts. You'll have a solid understanding of what machine learning is, how it operates, and how to apply it to solve issues in the real world by the time this course is over. So, let's get started!

Beginner's Guide to Machine Learning: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Understanding the Basics

What is Machine Learning?

Artificial intelligence's area of machine learning enables machines to automatically learn from experience and get better over time without having to be explicitly programmed. It entails creating algorithms and statistical models that can read and analyse massive volumes of data, find patterns, and base predictions or conclusions on those forecasts or decisions. Making models that can learn from data and make precise predictions or decisions based on fresh, unforeseen data is the aim of machine learning. supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and the reinforcement learning are the three primary categories of machine learning. Each type of machine learning involves different techniques and methods, and can be applied to different types of data analysis problems.

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Supervised vs Unsupervised Learning

Supervised and unsupervised learning are two main categories of machine learning algorithms that differ in their approach to training data.

Supervised learning is a type of the machine learning in which an algorithm learns to predict an output variable (also called a target or dependent variable) based on input variables (also called predictors or independent variables) by using a labeled dataset. In other words, the algorithm is trained on historical data that has both input and output variables, and it learns to make predictions based on that data.

Unsupervised learning, is a type of the machine learning in which an algorithm learns to identify patterns in data without being given specific output variables. In other words, it is trained on a dataset that has no labeled output variable, and it tries to find the underlying structure or relationships in the data by grouping or clustering similar observations.

The choice between the both supervised and unsupervised learning depends on problem at hand and the availability of labeled data. Supervised learning is useful when the output variable is known and the goal is to predict future outcomes based on input data. Unsupervised learning is useful when the goal is to discover hidden patterns or relationships in data that can be used for further analysis or decision-making.

Types of Machine Learning Algorithms:

Three major categories can be used to categorise machine learning algorithms:

1. Supervised Learning Algorithms: In this type of algorithm, the model is trained on labeled data, which means data that is already tagged with correct answers. The model then uses this kind of labeled data to the make predictions on new, unseen data.

2. Unsupervised Learning Algorithms: These algorithms are used when the data is unlabeled, meaning there are no predefined categories or outcomes. The model tries to identify patterns and relationships in the data without any prior knowledge.

3. Reinforcement Learning Algorithms: This type of algorithm is used in scenarios where an agent interacts with an environment, and the agent learns to make the decisions that are based on the feedback it receives from the environment. The goal is to maximize a reward or outcome over a period of time.

Each of these types of algorithms can be further classified into subtypes, such as decision trees, logistic regression, k-nearest neighbors, clustering, and deep learning.

Data Preprocessing

It is an essential step in machine learning that involves the transforming raw data into a format that is suitable for modeling. Goal of the data preprocessing is to improve quality and accuracy of the data by removing noise, handling missing values, normalizing the data, and reducing the dimensionality of the data. This step is critical because the quality of the data has a significant impact on the accuracy and effectiveness of the machine learning model.

Data preprocessing involves several techniques such as data cleaning, data integration, data reduction, and data transformation. The act of locating and addressing missing or incorrect data is known as data cleansing. The process of merging data from various sources into a single dataset is known as data integration. By choosing the most pertinent attributes, data reduction reduces the dimensions of the data. The process of data transformation entails transforming the data into a format that is better suited for machine learning algorithms, such as normalising the data.

Data preprocessing is a time-consuming process, but it is critical for the success of the machine learning model. By improving the quality and accuracy of the data, data preprocessing helps to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the machine learning model.

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1. Handling Missing Data:

Handling missing data is a crucial and essential step in data preprocessing before applying machine learning algorithms. Missing data can significantly affect the accuracy of models and lead to biased results. The processing of missing data can be done in a number of ways, including imputation, deletion, and prediction.

Imputation includes substituting estimated values, such as the mean, median, or mode, for missing data. This technique preserves the sample size and reduces the bias in the dataset. However, imputation assumes that the missing data are missing at random (MAR) and can introduce errors if the assumption is not valid.

Deletion involves removing missing data from the dataset. This technique can simplify the dataset and improve the accuracy of models if the missing data are missing completely at random (MCAR). However, deletion can lead to biased results and reduce the sample size, which can affect the performance of models.

Prediction involves using machine learning models to predict missing values based on the existing data. This technique can be more accurate than imputation and deletion but requires additional computational resources and expertise.

Overall, handling missing data is an essential step in data preprocessing, and the choice of technique depends on the nature of data and the research question.

2. Handling Categorical Data

Categorical data is the data that represents characteristics or categories, such as gender, color, or type of product. In machine learning, algorithms generally work with numerical data. Therefore, handling categorical data is a crucial step in the data preprocessing phase.

There are several techniques to handle categorical data, including:

1. One-Hot Encoding: This technique is used to the convert categorical data into numerical data by creating a binary column for each category in the feature. For example, if the feature is "Color," and there are three categories, such as red, green, and blue, then one-hot encoding will create three binary columns with 1s and 0s representing the presence or absence of each category.

2. Label Encoding: 2.This technique assigns a unique numerical value to each category in a feature. For example, if the feature is "Color," and there are three categories, such as red, green, and blue, then label encoding will assign 0 to red, 1 to green, and 2 to blue.

3. Ordinal Encoding: This technique is used when there is a natural ordering among the categories in a feature. For example, if the feature is "Size," and the categories are small, medium, and large, then ordinal encoding can assign 1 to small, 2 to medium, and 3 to large.

Choosing the appropriate technique for handling categorical data depends on nature of data and the machine learning algorithm being used.

Beginner's Guide to Machine Learning: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Understanding the Basics

Regression Analysis

To simulate the relationship between one is a dependent variable and the other is one or more independent variables, regression analysis is a statistical approach. The dependent variable is the outcome variable that we want to predict or explain, while the independent variables are the predictor variables that help us to make the predictions.

Regression analysis is used extensively in machine learning for predicting continuous values. There are various types of regression techniques, including linear regression, polynomial regression, multiple regression, and logistic regression. Each technique has its own set of assumptions and is used in different scenarios depending on nature of data and the problem at hand.

The most used regression method is linear regression, which models linear connections between variables. It presumes that the dependent and independent variables are linearly related and that the mistakes are randomly distributed. Polynomial regression, on the other hand, is used when the relationship between the variables is nonlinear. It involves fitting a polynomial function to the data to capture the nonlinear relationship.

One wil use multiple regression when there are multiple independent variables that can influence the dependent variable. It helps to identify which independent variables have a significant effect on the dependent variable and to what extent. When the dependent variable is categorical in nature and we want to forecast the likelihood that an event will occur, we utilise logistic regression. It helps to classify data into two or more categories based on the independent variables.

Regression analysis is a powerful technique that helps in making accurate predictions and understanding the relationships between variables. Numerous industries, including finance, marketing, and healthcare, among others, use it extensively.

Classification Analysis

Predicting the categorical class labels of new instances based on historical data is the aim of classification, a sort of supervised machine learning. There are several classification algorithms that can be used depending on the type of data and the problem at hand. Several of the most popular classification algorithms include:

1. Logistic Regression: It is a well-liked algorithm for binary classification issues. It models the probability of a sample belonging to a particular class based on the values of the input features.

2. Decision Trees: A non-parametric algorithm that uses a tree-like model of the decisions and also their possible consequences. It can handle both the categorical and also the numerical data and is often used for data exploration.

3. Random Forests: An ensemble algorithm that uses multiple decision trees to improve the performance and reduce overfitting. It is robust to the noise and also can handle missing data.

4. Naive Bayes: A probabilistic algorithm that uses Bayes' theorem to predict the probability of a sample belonging to a particular class based on the values of the input features. It is simple and fast and can handle high-dimensional data.


The objective of clustering, an unsupervised machine learning technique, is to group together data points with comparable properties. There are several clustering algorithms that can be used depending on the type of data and the problem at hand. Several of the most popular clustering algorithms include:

1. K-Means Clustering: A popular algorithm used for clustering numerical data. It partitions the data into K clusters based on the mean distance between the data points and the centroids of the clusters.

2. Hierarchical Clustering: A technique that creates a hierarchy of clusters by merging or splitting them based on their similarity. It can be agglomerative (bottom-up) or divisive (top-down) and can handle both the numerical and categorical data.

Both classification and clustering are important techniques in machine learning and can be used in a wide range of the applications such as like image recognition, speech recognition, fraud detection, and customer segmentation.

Evaluating Model Performance

Evaluating performance of the machine learning model is a crucial step in the development process. It involves comparing the predicted results with the actual results to determine how well the model is performing. Here are some common evaluation techniques used in machine learning:

1. Confusion Matrix: A classification model's number of accurate and inaccurate predictions are listed in a table called a confusion matrix. It is used to evaluate the performance of the model by showing how well it is able to distinguish between the classes.

2. Precision, Recall, and F1 Score: In terms of positive observations, precision is the proportion of accurately anticipated observations to all predicted positive observations. The proportion of accurately foreseen positive observations to all actual positive observations is known as recall. The F1 score, which gives a single indicator of performance, is the harmonic mean of recall and precision.

3. ROC Curve: A graph called a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve displays how well a classification model performs at various threshold values. For various classification thresholds, it plots the true positive rate (TPR) against false positive rate (FPR).

4. Cross-Validation: It is a technique used to evaluate the performance of the machine learning model by splitting the dataset into multiple folds, training the model on each fold, and testing the model on the remaining folds. This ensures that the model can generalise well to new data and does not overfit the training set of data.

By using these evaluation techniques, you can assess the performance of your machine learning model and make improvements to enhance its accuracy and effectiveness.

Beginner's Guide to Machine Learning: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Understanding the Basics

Applications of Machine Learning

Machine learning has a wide range of applications across various industries and fields. Here are some of the most general and common applications of machine learning:

1. Natural Language Processing (NLP): In order to handle and analyse vast amounts of natural language data, including text, speech, and images, machine learning techniques are utilised. Sentiment analysis, speech recognition, chatbots, and machine translation are just a few of the many of the uses for NLP.

2. Computer Vision: Machine learning is used to develop computer vision systems that can recognize and interpret images and videos. Computer vision has a range of applications, including facial recognition, object detection, and autonomous driving.

3. Recommender Systems: Machine learning is used to develop recommender systems that can suggest the products, services, or content to the users based on their past behavior and preferences. Recommender systems are commonly used in e-commerce, media, and entertainment industries.

4. Fraud Detection: Machine learning algorithms are used to identify fraudulent behavior and detect anomalies in financial transactions. Fraud detection has applications in the banking, insurance, and e-commerce industries.

5. Healthcare: Machine learning is used in the healthcare to develop the predictive models for the disease diagnosis and treatment, as well as to analyze large medical data sets to identify patterns and trends.

6. Marketing: 6.Machine learning algorithms are used to the analyze consumer behavior and preferences to develop targeted marketing campaigns and personalized recommendations.

7. Robotics: Machine learning is used in robotics to develop autonomous robots that can learn from their environment and make decisions based on the data they receive.

These are just and only a few of the numerous uses for machine learning. In the future, we may anticipate seeing even more cutting-edge applications for machine learning as the field develops and expands.

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Powerful technology like machine learning has the ability to revolutionise entire sectors and alter how people live and work. We can create models that can anticipate outcomes, categorise data, and spot trends by combining data and algorithms. There are a lot of tools accessible to you to help you study and advance in this subject, whether you are a novice or an expert data scientist. You can begin your machine learning adventure in a variety of ways, including through books, open-source libraries, online courses, and tutorials. Additionally, for those looking for comprehensive and structured training, 360DigiTMG offers a variety of courses and programs for data science, including machine learning, to help individuals build the skills and knowledge that are needed to succeed in this exciting field.

If you're looking for comprehensive training in machine learning, consider enrolling in a course or program offered by a reputable institution. For example, 360DigiTMG offers a variety of courses and programs for data science and machine learning, including a full-time Post Graduate Program in Data Science and a part-time Certificate Program in Data Science. These programs definitely will provide a comprehensive curriculum that covers the key concepts and tools used in machine learning and data science.

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