Section 2
Machine Learning Workflow
8. Section Overview
05:12 (Preview)
9. Data Preparation, Representation and Model Selection
10. Loss Functions
11. Training, Optimisation & Hyper-parameter Tuning
12. Exploring If Models are Any Good - Training Curves
13. Is My Model any Good - Validation Plots
14. Conclusion, Certificate, and What Next?
5. K-Nearest Neighbour Walkthrough
Introduction to Machine Learning

In this explainer we are going to look at a first example of using k Nearest Neighbour. This will give you a basic idea of how kNN is used and also a simple way to determine a good value of kk.

Add Libraries

As normal we start by adding some standard libraries for various functions we will use generally

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

A dataset of sea snails!

Ok so important stuff, can we predict the age (equivalent to number of rings) of a sea shell based on various simple measurements.

Let us first download the dataset and get moving.

url = (
abalone = pd.read_csv(url, header = None)

abalone.columns = [
    'Whole weight',
    'Shucked weight',
    'Viscera weight',
    'Shell weight',

abalone = abalone.drop("Sex", axis = 1)

We dropped "Sex" as it is a categorical measurement, where all others are simple numbers. By dropping it, it makes life easier!

Ok, so let's look at our data

X = abalone.drop("Rings", axis = 1)
y = abalone["Rings"]

We first want to rescale our data, we do this using an inbuilt frunction in sklearn. This transforms all variables to range of 0 to 1. It is vital in many ML algorithms, otherwise the inputs and their contribution to predictions are no handled fairly.

from sklearn.preprocessing import scale

X_scaled = scale(X)

Validation : Train / Test Split

So we are going to want to train our model, and then test it against held out data. Here we again use sklearn's inbuild functions, holding out 20% of the data for testing.

from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split

X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(X_scaled, y, train_size=0.2, random_state=42)

Fitting a Model

Now we are are in shape to fit a model. First we do this for a single given kk value, 10.

from sklearn.neighbors import KNeighborsRegressor
from sklearn.metrics import mean_squared_error

k = 10

knn_model = KNeighborsRegressor(n_neighbors=k).fit(X_train, y_train)

y_pred = knn_model.predict(X_test)

rmse = np.sqrt(mean_squared_error(y_test, y_pred))


We see here the average root mean squared error is 2.342.34 rings / years out.

So let's look at a validation plot over the whole of the testing set and see how we did.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

plt.scatter(y_pred, y_test, c='cornflowerblue', alpha = 0.1)

perfect_line = np.linspace(3,23,2)

plt.plot(perfect_line, perfect_line, '-k', alpha=0.6)

plt.title('Model Validation for k = 10')

You will note some banding in this, this is because the number of rings is an interger number rather, than a continous number. Hence in this case a kNN classifier might yield better results, but we wont worry here as we are primarily looking at the general principles.

Choosing kk

So now we have built the model for a single value of kk, how do we explore the optimal value of kk?

We now build models for all values of kk from 11 all the way up to 125125

k = np.arange(1,125, 1)

mse = []

for i, n_neigh in enumerate(k):

    knn_model = KNeighborsRegressor(n_neighbors=n_neigh).fit(X_train, y_train)

    y_pred = knn_model.predict(X_test)

    mse.append(mean_squared_error(y_test, y_pred))

optimal_k = k[np.argmin(mse)]


The optimal is k=18k = 18 in this study.

Let us also plot out all the others.

plt.plot(k, mse, '-b', alpha = 0.6)
plt.scatter(optimal_k, np.min(mse), c='g')
plt.xlabel('Number of Neighbours')
plt.ylabel('Mean Square Error')
Next Lesson
6. K-Means Explainer