Machine learning is a field overlapping with statistics and computer science and strongly associated with big data. One important point, however, is that machine learning techniques often provide their largest advantages in medium-sized data sets (say, a few hundred to a few thousand cases); in truly large data sets, different techniques converge. Machine learning grew out of artificial intelligence research. It has been characterized as methods that allow a “machine” (typically an algorithm) to optimize some error function (a loss function or an objective function) to learn to do a specific task without being explicitly programmed to do that task (e.g., making predictions, classifying cases). The keys to the machine learning approach involve the discipline’s approach to the data. Machine learning techniques are usually evaluated ...

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