I took an introductory course on machine learning using MATLAB. The course lays the foundations on machine learning methods for classification problems.


What is machine learning ?

Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that collects methods developed in the last decades of the twentieth century in various scientific communities. It has been developed under different names such as: computational statistics, pattern recognition, artificial neural networks, adaptive filtering, dynamical systems theory, image processing, data mining, adaptive algorithms, etc. It uses statistical methods to improve the performance of an algorithm in identifying patterns in data. In computer science, it is a variant of traditional programming in which a machine prepares the ability to learn from data autonomously, without explicit instructions.

Arthur Samuel, who coined the term in 1959, identifies in principle two distinct approaches. The first method, referred to as a neural network, develops general purpose machine learning machines. Behavior is learned from a randomly connected switching network, with a reward-and-punishment-based learning routine (reinforcement learning). The second, more specific method is to reproduce the equivalent of a highly organized network designed to learn only specific activities. The second procedure, which requires supervision and requires reprogramming for each new application, is much more computationally efficient.

Feed-forward neural networks


Furthermore, machine learning is closely related to pattern recognition and computational theory of learning. So it explores the study and construction of algorithms that can learn from a set of data and make predictions about them. It then inductively builds a model based on samples. Machine learning is then used in those fields of computer science where designing and programming explicit algorithms is impractical.

Then among the possible applications we mention the filtering of emails, the detection of intrusions in a network, the optical character recognition, the search engines. Machine learning is related to, and often overlaps with, computational statistics, which are concerned with making predictions using computers.