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Instance-based learning

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In machine learning, instance-based learning (sometimes called memory-based learning[1]) is a family of learning algorithms that, instead of performing explicit generalization, compare new problem instances with instances seen in training, which have been stored in memory. Because computation is postponed until a new instance is observed, these algorithms are sometimes referred to as "lazy."[2]

It is called instance-based because it constructs hypotheses directly from the training instances themselves.[3] This means that the hypothesis complexity can grow with the data:[3] in the worst case, a hypothesis is a list of n training items and the computational complexity of classifying a single new instance is O(n). One advantage that instance-based learning has over other methods of machine learning is its ability to adapt its model to previously unseen data. Instance-based learners may simply store a new instance or throw an old instance away.

Examples of instance-based learning algorithms are the k-nearest neighbors algorithm, kernel machines and RBF networks.[2]: ch. 8  These store (a subset of) their training set; when predicting a value/class for a new instance, they compute distances or similarities between this instance and the training instances to make a decision.

To battle the memory complexity of storing all training instances, as well as the risk of overfitting to noise in the training set, instance reduction algorithms have been proposed.[4]

See also



  1. ^ Walter Daelemans; Antal van den Bosch (2005). Memory-Based Language Processing. Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ a b Tom Mitchell (1997). Machine Learning. McGraw-Hill.
  3. ^ a b Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig (2003). Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, second edition, p. 733. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-080302-2
  4. ^ D. Randall Wilson; Tony R. Martinez (2000). "Reduction techniques for instance-based learning algorithms". Machine Learning.