ML Classification vs Regression

continuous target values
stress detection

K-nearest neighbors can be used by banks to predict whether a certain person is fit for loan approval or not by determining if they have similar characteristics to defaulters. But let’s say that you have another task where you’re trying to predict house sale price in a particular city. When we build a machine learning system, we’re typically trying to do something. We’re trying to solve some sort of problem or accomplish something using a data-driven computer system. You can think of a task as the thing that the machine learning system is supposed to do. We’ll start by distinguishing a regression task from a classification task.

In contrast, the output variable in regression must be either continuous in nature or real values. The categorial dependent variable assumes only one of two possible, mutually exclusive values. However, you may have cases where you need a prediction that considers multiple variables, such as “Which of these four promotions will people probably sign up for? ” In this case, the categorical dependent variable has multiple values.

  • There are different types of State of the art regression algorithms that have been developed over time to give the best results for regression tasks by employing techniques like bagging and boosting.
  • The used classification model is Random Forest and the regression model is Bagged tree based ensemble.
  • Classification algorithms solve classification problems like identifying spam e-mails, spotting cancer cells, and speech recognition.
  • Regression and classification can work on some common problems where the response variable is respectively continuous and ordinal.
  • Classification methods simply generate a class label rather than estimating a distribution parameter.

We could then use this model to predict the selling price of a house, based on its square footage and number of bathrooms. If you notice for each situation here most of them have numerical value as predicted output. If you notice for each situation here there can be either a Yes or No as an output predicted value. We can further divide Classification algorithms into Binary Classifiers and Multi-class Classifiers. We can further divide Regression algorithms into Linear and Non-linear Regression. It attempt to find the best fit line, which predicts the output more accurately.

What is classification?

If there are more than two classes, then it can be called a multi-class classification algorithm. Simplilearn can help you get into this fantastic field thanks to its AI and Machine Learning Course. This program features 58 hours of applied learning, interactive labs, four hands-on projects, and mentoring. You will receive an in-depth look at Machine Learning topics such as working with real-time data, developing supervised and unsupervised learning algorithms, Regression, Classification, and time series modeling. In addition, you will learn how to use Python to draw predictions from data. It helps in predicting the continuous variables such as prediction of Market Trends, prediction of House prices, etc.

So, lasso regression analysis is basically a shrinkage and variable selection method and it helps to determine which of the predictors are most important. The confusion matrix provides us a matrix/table as output and describes the performance of the model. It is used for evaluating the performance of a classifier, whose output is a probability value between the 0 and 1. In these above different types Classification algorithms can be sub-divided into different types based on the type of model.

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Now that we have the between Classification and Regression algorithms plainly mapped out, it’s time to see how they relate to decision trees. Let’s consider a dataset that contains student information of a particular university. A regression algorithm can be used in this case to predict the height of any student based on their weight, gender, diet, or subject major. We use regression in this case because height is a continuous quantity.

What is an example of a classification problem?

The algorithm operates by finding and applying a constraint on the model attributes that cause regression coefficients for some variables to shrink toward a zero. SVR also uses the same idea of SVM but here it tries to predict the real values. In case this separation is not possible then it uses kernel trick where the dimension is increased and then the data points become separable by a hyperplane.

The results of user-independent recognition rates using regression and classification algorithms and different sensor combinations are presented in Table 2. Using leave-one-subject-out cross-validation method, a own recognition model was trained for each study subject and the performance of the model was calculated using balanced accuracy, sensitivity and specificity. The most significant difference between regression vs classification is that while regression helps predict a continuous quantity, classification predicts discrete class labels.

Using these results, business owners can make sure they allocate staff properly, stock their shelves on time, and provide the best customer experience. Despite its name, logistic regression is used to predict a binary outcome such as whether a certain event occurs or does not occur. For example, logistic regression can be used to predict whether a political candidate will win or lose an election. The main aim of this algorithm is to find out how likely it is for a dataset to be part of a specific group.

Classification technique provides the predictive model or function which predicts the new data in discrete categories or labels with the help of the historic data. Conversely, the regression method models continuous-valued functions which means it predicts the data in continuous numeric data. If provided with a single or several input variables, a classification model will attempt to predict the value of a single or several conclusions. Examples of the common regression algorithms include linear regression, Support Vector Regression , and regression trees. The objective of such a problem is to approximate the mapping function as accurately as possible such that whenever there is a new input data , the output variable for the dataset can be predicted.

Types of Regression Algorithm:

Classification and Regression algorithms are Supervised Learning algorithms. Both the algorithms can be used for forecasting in Machine learning and operate with the labelled datasets. But the distinction between classification vs regression is how they are used on particular machine learning problems. The classification algorithms use decision boundaries to detect the boundary of the cluster formed as a combination of points with similar characteristics. This helps in identifying the input data against different categories. The two most popular types of ML algorithms are classification and regression algorithms—while both are supervised algorithms , their functions differ slightly from one another.

map the input

The result of the paper was these two classes can be detected with the accuracy of 83%. Moreover, in a binary classifier to stress and non-stressed state was trained, and it was noted that stress can be detected using sensors of commercial smartwatches. There are also several other studies showing that stress detection based on classification models can be performed with high accuracy using user-independent models (see for instance ).

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ML Classification vs Regression

This also includes comparison of different quantitative indicators to measures the goodness of the prediction. In this article, regression and classification models were compared for stress detection. The article was based on publicly open dataset , which unlike most of the other stress detection datasets, contained continuous target variables. The used classification model was Random Forest and the regression model was Bagged tree based ensemble. While the most of the stress detection studies are based on discrete target values, there are some attempts to gather and analyze continuous target values for stress detection. In the study, continuous target variables for stress level were created based on video recorded to analyze driver’s facial expression, body motion and road conditions.

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Regression and classification are both related to prediction, where regression predicts a value from a continuous set, whereas classification predicts the ‘belonging’ to the class. Cutting to the chase more quickly than I did for regression, classification problems predict a categorical target. A categorical variable is like a drop-down list box, containing a list of values to choose from.

How Classification and Regression Trees Work

Image by Author.You can see the size column was converted from small/medium/large to the values 0, 1, and 2. It doesn’t really make sense to say the difference between the predicted and actual shirt size is 1 . The real confusion, I think, is that every target value is a number because during the data science process, we convert text to numbers. For example, true/false get converted to 1 and 0 and small/medium/large gets converted to 0, 1, and 2. What you may not know is that the likelihood of guessing a continuous number EXACTLY is quite low .

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In classification, the algorithm trains on data that has categorical labels, and learns to predict categorical labels. Typically, regression and classification are both forms of supervised learning. There are some exceptions to this, but that will help you understand the general difference between regression vs classification. Additionally, the structure of the input data (i.e., the “experience” that we use to train the system) is different in regression vs classification.

A classification algorithm can have both discrete and real-valued variables, but it requires that the examples be classified into one of two or more classes. Classification algorithms find the mapping function to map the “x” input to “y” discrete output. User-dependent recognition rates for NM, RY and GM are shown in Table 7 using different sensor combinations, and classification and regression models.


An extension of simple linear regression, multiple regression can predict the values of a dependent variable based on the values of two or more independent variables. With Regression, the target data variable has a connection established with the independent variables. Variance enables us to test the change in the estimation of the target data variable with any kind of change in the training data variables from the partitioned dataset.

Regression is the method of discovering a function or a model for separating the real values data instead of using distinct values or groups. It may also classify the distribution movement based on historical evidence. Since a regression model predicts a quantity, thus, the ability of the operator must be reported as an error in such predictions. Classification is the process of discovering or identifying a design or role, which helps to separate them into several categorical classes, i.e. discrete values. In classification, data is labelled under different labels according to certain parameters given in input, and then the labels are projected for the data. The combination of BVP and ST features produced on average the highest recognition rates using user-independent regression model.


Facial recognition uses decision trees to study images and accurately identify whose facial features are in the picture. Speech emotion recognition software uses support vector machines to detect if someone’s speech conveys emotions of anger, hurt, happiness, etc. Classification algorithms work by using input variables to create a mapping function. These data contain observations whose classifications are already known and so the algorithm can use them as a guide. This helps determine the output variables with varying degrees of accuracy.

If in the regression problem, input values are dependent or ordered by time then it is known as time series forecasting problem. Regression is a type of supervised machine learning approach which can be used to forecast any continuous−valued attribute. Regression gives some business organization to explore the target variable and predictor variable associations. Thus, regression is one of the essential tools to explore the data that can be used for monetary forecasting and time series modeling. The Regression trees fit to the target variable using all the independent variables. The data of each independent variable is then divided at several points.

The error between difference between regression and classificationed and actual values gets squared at each point to arrive at a Sum of Squared Errors, or SSE. This SSE gets compared across all variables, and the point or variable with the lowest SSE becomes the split point, and the process continues recursively. As discussed above, Regression algorithms try to map continuous target variables to the various input variables from the dataset. It helps us predict the continuous integrated score/value for the requested calculations around the best fit line. Simple linear regression uses a mapping function that estimates the relationship between a dependent variable with one independent variable using a straight line.

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