The following topics are covered in this tutorial:
- A typical problem statement for machine learning
- Downloading and exploring a dataset for machine learning
- Linear regression with one variable using Scikit-learn
- Linear regression with multiple variables
- Using categorical features for machine learning
- Regression coefficients and feature importance
- Other models and techniques for regression using Scikit-learn
- Applying linear regression to other datasets
How to run the code
This tutorial is an executable Jupyter notebook hosted on Jovian. You can run this tutorial and experiment with the code examples in a couple of ways: using free online resources (recommended) or on your computer.
Option 1: Running using free online resources (1-click, recommended)
The easiest way to start executing the code is to click the Run button at the top of this page and select Run on Binder. You can also select "Run on Colab" or "Run on Kaggle", but you'll need to create an account on Google Colab or Kaggle to use these platforms.
Option 2: Running on your computer locally
To run the code on your computer locally, you'll need to set up Python, download the notebook and install the required libraries. We recommend using the Conda distribution of Python. Click the Run button at the top of this page, select the Run Locally option, and follow the instructions.
Jupyter Notebooks: This tutorial is a Jupyter notebook - a document made of cells. Each cell can contain code written in Python or explanations in plain English. You can execute code cells and view the results, e.g., numbers, messages, graphs, tables, files, etc., instantly within the notebook. Jupyter is a powerful platform for experimentation and analysis. Don't be afraid to mess around with the code & break things - you'll learn a lot by encountering and fixing errors. You can use the "Kernel > Restart & Clear Output" menu option to clear all outputs and start again from the top.
This tutorial takes a practical and coding-focused approach. We'll define the terms machine learning and linear regression in the context of a problem, and later generalize their definitions. We'll work through a typical machine learning problem step-by-step:
QUESTION: ACME Insurance Inc. offers affordable health insurance to thousands of customer all over the United States. As the lead data scientist at ACME, you're tasked with creating an automated system to estimate the annual medical expenditure for new customers, using information such as their age, sex, BMI, children, smoking habits and region of residence.
Estimates from your system will be used to determine the annual insurance premium (amount paid every month) offered to the customer. Due to regulatory requirements, you must be able to explain why your system outputs a certain prediction.
You're given a CSV file containing verified historical data, consisting of the aforementioned information and the actual medical charges incurred by over 1300 customers.
Dataset source: https://github.com/stedy/Machine-Learning-with-R-datasets
EXERCISE: Before proceeding further, take a moment to think about how can approach this problem. List five or more ideas that come to your mind below:
Downloading the Data
To begin, let's download the data using the
urlretrieve function from