# Top 20 Machine Learning Algorithms, Explained in Less Than 10 Seconds Each

Simple explanations to the 20 most important machine learning algorithms, all in under 10 seconds each.

Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates processes for model development. It is a branch of artificial intelligence based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns, and make decisions with minimal user intervention .

Machine learning algorithms are used in a wide variety of applications, including email filtering, detecting fraudulent credit card transactions, stock trading, computer vision, speech recognition, and more.

There are three main types of machine learning: supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning.

Supervised learning is where the data is labeled and the algorithms learn to predict the labels. For example, in a dataset of images of cats and dogs, the labels would be “cat” and “dog.” The algorithm would learn to identify which images contain cats and which contain dogs.

Unsupervised learning is where the data is not labeled and the algorithms try to find patterns in the data. For example, in a dataset of images of animals, the algorithm might group together images of cats, dogs, and lions as all being “animals.”

Reinforcement learning is where an algorithm learns by trial and error. For example, a reinforcement learning algorithm might be tasked with navigating a maze. The algorithm would try different paths through the maze until it finds the shortest path to the exit.

Instead of spending time decomposing these three types of machine learning models, I will constrain descriptions around specific algorithms and implementations — 20 of them. I find they are the top 20 most important for present day machine learning use cases.

1. Linear Regression: A way to predict a future event based on a past event. For example, you could use linear regression to predict how much money you will make in the future based on how much money you made in the past.

2. Logistic Regression: a type of statistical analysis that is used to predict the probability of an event occurring. It is a type of regression analysis that is used when the dependent variable is binary (0 or 1, yes or no).

3. Support Vector Machines: a model that can learn from examples and make predictions. It is often used to classify things into groups.

4. Decision Trees: an approach to help you make a decision by listing out all of the possible options. You can then choose the best option by looking at all the possible outcomes.

5. Random Forests: use it to predict things. It works by looking at a bunch of different scenarios that could affect the thing you are trying to predict; then, it makes a guess based on what it has learned.

6. Gradient Boosting: a technique combining multiple weaker models to create a stronger one. The weaker models are developed using a gradient descent algorithm, and the final model is a weighted combination of all the weaker (in comparison) models.

7. Neural Networks: a machine learning algorithm that is used to model complex patterns in data. Neural networks are like other machine learning algorithms, but they are composed of a large number of interconnected processing nodes, or neurons, that can learn to recognize patterns of input data.

8. Principal Component Analysis (PCA): a technique used to find patterns in data. It looks at the data and finds the direction that the data varies the most.

9. Linear Discriminant Analysis: a machine learning technique that helps identify a set of variables (features) most important for predicting a target variable. LDA is a way of analyzing data so that it can be used to predict the outcomes of actions. It is used to identify relationships between different values in data, and to then use these relationships to make predictions about the future.

10. K-Means Clustering: a technique used in machine learning to group data together so that the data are more likely to be related to one another. It is an approach to assist groups of data points (e.g., items in a database) by finding their closest counterparts and grouping them together.

11. Hierarchical Clustering is a way of grouping data items together to make it easier to understand. It works by dividing the data into groups and then looking at how the groups are related. It is an approach to grouping data points together in a hierarchy. The algorithm starts with each data point in its own group and then combines the closest groups until there is only one group left.

12. DBSCAN: an algorithm that can be used to cluster data points together. It works by looking at the density of data points and grouping them if they are close together.

13. Gaussian Mixture Models: it uses a mixture of linear and nonlinear models to predict outcomes. It is a type of machine learning model that helps predict the behavior of a group of objects. The model takes in a set of input data points and uses it to predict the behavior of a new set of input data points.

14. Autoencoders: a machine learning algorithm that can learn to decode or reconstruct a sequence of symbols from a set of input data. It is a type of neural network that is used to learn how to compress data. The aim is to learn a representation (encoding)  for the data that is smaller than the original data (while still containing all the important information).

15. Isolation Forest: use it to detect outliers in data. It works by randomly selecting data points and creating a decision tree. If the point is an outlier, it will be easier to isolate from the rest of the data.

16. One-Class SVM: like the isolation forest approach, this can be used to find outliers: the evaluation to find the outlier is to create a line that best separate the data into two groups. Any data point that is far from this line is considered an outlier.

17. Locally Linear Embedding: a technique used to reduce the dimensionality of data. It does this by finding a linear representation of the data that is close to the original data. It is a way of representing a data set as a sequence of points in space. This way, you can easier see the relationships between the data points and make better predictions.

18. t-SNE : helps to visualize data by reducing the dimensionality of the data. t-SNE works by creating a map of the data points and then finding the best way to represent those points in a lower dimensional space.

19. Independent Component Analysis (ICA): used to find hidden patterns in data. It does this by looking at the relationships between different variables in the data. It is a technique for separating out the different parts of a signal that are mixed.

20. Factor Analysis: used to reduce the amount of data that needs to be analyzed to find patterns. It does this by identifying groups of data elements that have similar behaviors. Also, it is used to reduce the amount of data that needs to be analyzed to reveal patterns; it achieves this by identifying groups of data elements with similar behaviors. Effectively, it is a method used to understand which characteristics of a data set are essential to predict an outcome.

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