Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree

Supervised Learning

Project: Finding Donors for CharityML

Welcome to the second project of the Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree! In this notebook, some template code has already been provided for you, and it will be your job to implement the additional functionality necessary to successfully complete this project. Sections that begin with 'Implementation' in the header indicate that the following block of code will require additional functionality which you must provide. Instructions will be provided for each section and the specifics of the implementation are marked in the code block with a 'TODO' statement. Please be sure to read the instructions carefully!

In addition to implementing code, there will be questions that you must answer which relate to the project and your implementation. Each section where you will answer a question is preceded by a 'Question X' header. Carefully read each question and provide thorough answers in the following text boxes that begin with 'Answer:'. Your project submission will be evaluated based on your answers to each of the questions and the implementation you provide.

Note: Please specify WHICH VERSION OF PYTHON you are using when submitting this notebook. Code and Markdown cells can be executed using the Shift + Enter keyboard shortcut. In addition, Markdown cells can be edited by typically double-clicking the cell to enter edit mode.

Getting Started

In this project, you will employ several supervised algorithms of your choice to accurately model individuals' income using data collected from the 1994 U.S. Census. You will then choose the best candidate algorithm from preliminary results and further optimize this algorithm to best model the data. Your goal with this implementation is to construct a model that accurately predicts whether an individual makes more than $50,000. This sort of task can arise in a non-profit setting, where organizations survive on donations. Understanding an individual's income can help a non-profit better understand how large of a donation to request, or whether or not they should reach out to begin with. While it can be difficult to determine an individual's general income bracket directly from public sources, we can (as we will see) infer this value from other publically available features.

The dataset for this project originates from the UCI Machine Learning Repository. The datset was donated by Ron Kohavi and Barry Becker, after being published in the article "Scaling Up the Accuracy of Naive-Bayes Classifiers: A Decision-Tree Hybrid". You can find the article by Ron Kohavi online. The data we investigate here consists of small changes to the original dataset, such as removing the 'fnlwgt' feature and records with missing or ill-formatted entries.

Exploring the Data

Run the code cell below to load necessary Python libraries and load the census data. Note that the last column from this dataset, 'income', will be our target label (whether an individual makes more than, or at most, $50,000 annually). All other columns are features about each individual in the census database.

In [1]:
# Import libraries necessary for this project
import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
from time import time
from IPython.display import display # Allows the use of display() for DataFrames

# Import supplementary visualization code
import visuals as vs

# Pretty display for notebooks
%matplotlib inline

# Load the Census dataset
data = pd.read_csv("census.csv")

# Success - Display the first record
age workclass education_level education-num marital-status occupation relationship race sex capital-gain capital-loss hours-per-week native-country income
0 39 State-gov Bachelors 13.0 Never-married Adm-clerical Not-in-family White Male 2174.0 0.0 40.0 United-States <=50K

Implementation: Data Exploration

A cursory investigation of the dataset will determine how many individuals fit into either group, and will tell us about the percentage of these individuals making more than \$50,000. In the code cell below, you will need to compute the following:

  • The total number of records, 'n_records'
  • The number of individuals making more than \$50,000 annually, 'n_greater_50k'.
  • The number of individuals making at most \$50,000 annually, 'n_at_most_50k'.
  • The percentage of individuals making more than \$50,000 annually, 'greater_percent'.

HINT: You may need to look at the table above to understand how the 'income' entries are formatted.

In [18]:
# TODO: Total number of records
n_records = data.shape[0]

# TODO: Number of records where individual's income is more than $50,000
n_greater_50k = data.income.value_counts()[1]

# TODO: Number of records where individual's income is at most $50,000
n_at_most_50k = data.income.value_counts()[0]

# TODO: Percentage of individuals whose income is more than $50,000
greater_percent = (n_greater_50k / n_records) * 100

# Print the results
print("Total number of records: {}".format(n_records))
print("Individuals making more than $50,000: {}".format(n_greater_50k))
print("Individuals making at most $50,000: {}".format(n_at_most_50k))
print("Percentage of individuals making more than $50,000: {}%".format(greater_percent))
Total number of records: 45222
Individuals making more than $50,000: 11208
Individuals making at most $50,000: 34014
Percentage of individuals making more than $50,000: 24.78439697492371%

Featureset Exploration

  • age: continuous.
  • workclass: Private, Self-emp-not-inc, Self-emp-inc, Federal-gov, Local-gov, State-gov, Without-pay, Never-worked.
  • education: Bachelors, Some-college, 11th, HS-grad, Prof-school, Assoc-acdm, Assoc-voc, 9th, 7th-8th, 12th, Masters, 1st-4th, 10th, Doctorate, 5th-6th, Preschool.
  • education-num: continuous.
  • marital-status: Married-civ-spouse, Divorced, Never-married, Separated, Widowed, Married-spouse-absent, Married-AF-spouse.
  • occupation: Tech-support, Craft-repair, Other-service, Sales, Exec-managerial, Prof-specialty, Handlers-cleaners, Machine-op-inspct, Adm-clerical, Farming-fishing, Transport-moving, Priv-house-serv, Protective-serv, Armed-Forces.
  • relationship: Wife, Own-child, Husband, Not-in-family, Other-relative, Unmarried.
  • race: Black, White, Asian-Pac-Islander, Amer-Indian-Eskimo, Other.
  • sex: Female, Male.
  • capital-gain: continuous.
  • capital-loss: continuous.
  • hours-per-week: continuous.
  • native-country: United-States, Cambodia, England, Puerto-Rico, Canada, Germany, Outlying-US(Guam-USVI-etc), India, Japan, Greece, South, China, Cuba, Iran, Honduras, Philippines, Italy, Poland, Jamaica, Vietnam, Mexico, Portugal, Ireland, France, Dominican-Republic, Laos, Ecuador, Taiwan, Haiti, Columbia, Hungary, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Scotland, Thailand, Yugoslavia, El-Salvador, Trinadad&Tobago, Peru, Hong, Holand-Netherlands.

Preparing the Data

Before data can be used as input for machine learning algorithms, it often must be cleaned, formatted, and restructured β€” this is typically known as preprocessing. Fortunately, for this dataset, there are no invalid or missing entries we must deal with, however, there are some qualities about certain features that must be adjusted. This preprocessing can help tremendously with the outcome and predictive power of nearly all learning algorithms.

Transforming Skewed Continuous Features

A dataset may sometimes contain at least one feature whose values tend to lie near a single number, but will also have a non-trivial number of vastly larger or smaller values than that single number. Algorithms can be sensitive to such distributions of values and can underperform if the range is not properly normalized. With the census dataset two features fit this description: 'capital-gain' and 'capital-loss'.

Run the code cell below to plot a histogram of these two features. Note the range of the values present and how they are distributed.

In [22]:
# Split the data into features and target label
income_raw = data['income']
features_raw = data.drop('income', axis = 1)

# Visualize skewed continuous features of original data

For highly-skewed feature distributions such as 'capital-gain' and 'capital-loss', it is common practice to apply a logarithmic transformation on the data so that the very large and very small values do not negatively affect the performance of a learning algorithm. Using a logarithmic transformation significantly reduces the range of values caused by outliers. Care must be taken when applying this transformation however: The logarithm of 0 is undefined, so we must translate the values by a small amount above 0 to apply the the logarithm successfully.

Run the code cell below to perform a transformation on the data and visualize the results. Again, note the range of values and how they are distributed.

In [24]:
# Log-transform the skewed features
skewed = ['capital-gain', 'capital-loss']
features_log_transformed = pd.DataFrame(data = features_raw)
features_log_transformed[skewed] = features_raw[skewed].apply(lambda x: np.log(x + 1))

# Visualize the new log distributions
vs.distribution(features_log_transformed, transformed = True)

Normalizing Numerical Features

In addition to performing transformations on features that are highly skewed, it is often good practice to perform some type of scaling on numerical features. Applying a scaling to the data does not change the shape of each feature's distribution (such as 'capital-gain' or 'capital-loss' above); however, normalization ensures that each feature is treated equally when applying supervised learners. Note that once scaling is applied, observing the data in its raw form will no longer have the same original meaning, as exampled below.

Run the code cell below to normalize each numerical feature. We will use sklearn.preprocessing.MinMaxScaler for this.

In [25]:
# Import sklearn.preprocessing.StandardScaler
from sklearn.preprocessing import MinMaxScaler

# Initialize a scaler, then apply it to the features
scaler = MinMaxScaler() # default=(0, 1)
numerical = ['age', 'education-num', 'capital-gain', 'capital-loss', 'hours-per-week']

features_log_minmax_transform = pd.DataFrame(data = features_log_transformed)
features_log_minmax_transform[numerical] = scaler.fit_transform(features_log_transformed[numerical])

# Show an example of a record with scaling applied
display(features_log_minmax_transform.head(n = 5))
age workclass education_level education-num marital-status occupation relationship race sex capital-gain capital-loss hours-per-week native-country
0 0.301370 State-gov Bachelors 0.800000 Never-married Adm-clerical Not-in-family White Male 0.667492 0.0 0.397959 United-States
1 0.452055 Self-emp-not-inc Bachelors 0.800000 Married-civ-spouse Exec-managerial Husband White Male 0.000000 0.0 0.122449 United-States
2 0.287671 Private HS-grad 0.533333 Divorced Handlers-cleaners Not-in-family White Male 0.000000 0.0 0.397959 United-States
3 0.493151 Private 11th 0.400000 Married-civ-spouse Handlers-cleaners Husband Black Male 0.000000 0.0 0.397959 United-States
4 0.150685 Private Bachelors 0.800000 Married-civ-spouse Prof-specialty Wife Black Female 0.000000 0.0 0.397959 Cuba

Implementation: Data Preprocessing

From the table in Exploring the Data above, we can see there are several features for each record that are non-numeric. Typically, learning algorithms expect input to be numeric, which requires that non-numeric features (called categorical variables) be converted. One popular way to convert categorical variables is by using the one-hot encoding scheme. One-hot encoding creates a "dummy" variable for each possible category of each non-numeric feature. For example, assume someFeature has three possible entries: A, B, or C. We then encode this feature into someFeature_A, someFeature_B and someFeature_C.

someFeature someFeature_A someFeature_B someFeature_C
0 B 0 1 0
1 C ----> one-hot encode ----> 0 0 1
2 A 1 0 0

Additionally, as with the non-numeric features, we need to convert the non-numeric target label, 'income' to numerical values for the learning algorithm to work. Since there are only two possible categories for this label ("<=50K" and ">50K"), we can avoid using one-hot encoding and simply encode these two categories as 0 and 1, respectively. In code cell below, you will need to implement the following:

  • Use pandas.get_dummies() to perform one-hot encoding on the 'features_log_minmax_transform' data.
  • Convert the target label 'income_raw' to numerical entries.
    • Set records with "<=50K" to 0 and records with ">50K" to 1.
In [46]:
# TODO: One-hot encode the 'features_log_minmax_transform' data using pandas.get_dummies()
features_final = pd.get_dummies(features_log_minmax_transform)

# TODO: Encode the 'income_raw' data to numerical values
income = income_raw.astype('category')

# Print the number of features after one-hot encoding
encoded = list(features_final.columns)
print("{} total features after one-hot encoding.".format(len(encoded)))

# Uncomment the following line to see the encoded feature names
103 total features after one-hot encoding.

Shuffle and Split Data

Now all categorical variables have been converted into numerical features, and all numerical features have been normalized. As always, we will now split the data (both features and their labels) into training and test sets. 80% of the data will be used for training and 20% for testing.

Run the code cell below to perform this split.

In [48]:
# Import train_test_split
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split

# Split the 'features' and 'income' data into training and testing sets
X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(features_final, 
                                                    test_size = 0.2, 
                                                    random_state = 0)

# Show the results of the split
print("Training set has {} samples.".format(X_train.shape[0]))
print("Testing set has {} samples.".format(X_test.shape[0]))
Training set has 36177 samples.
Testing set has 9045 samples.

Evaluating Model Performance

In this section, we will investigate four different algorithms, and determine which is best at modeling the data. Three of these algorithms will be supervised learners of your choice, and the fourth algorithm is known as a naive predictor.

Metrics and the Naive Predictor

CharityML, equipped with their research, knows individuals that make more than \$50,000 are most likely to donate to their charity. Because of this, *CharityML* is particularly interested in predicting who makes more than \$50,000 accurately. It would seem that using accuracy as a metric for evaluating a particular model's performace would be appropriate. Additionally, identifying someone that does not make more than \$50,000 as someone who does would be detrimental to *CharityML*, since they are looking to find individuals willing to donate. Therefore, a model's ability to precisely predict those that make more than \$50,000 is more important than the model's ability to recall those individuals. We can use F-beta score as a metric that considers both precision and recall:

$$ F_{\beta} = (1 + \beta^2) \cdot \frac{precision \cdot recall}{\left( \beta^2 \cdot precision \right) + recall} $$

In particular, when $\beta = 0.5$, more emphasis is placed on precision. This is called the F$_{0.5}$ score (or F-score for simplicity).

Looking at the distribution of classes (those who make at most \$50,000, and those who make more), it's clear most individuals do not make more than \$50,000. This can greatly affect accuracy, since we could simply say "this person does not make more than \$50,000" and generally be right, without ever looking at the data! Making such a statement would be called naive, since we have not considered any information to substantiate the claim. It is always important to consider the naive prediction for your data, to help establish a benchmark for whether a model is performing well. That been said, using that prediction would be pointless: If we predicted all people made less than \$50,000, CharityML would identify no one as donors.

Note: Recap of accuracy, precision, recall

Accuracy measures how often the classifier makes the correct prediction. It’s the ratio of the number of correct predictions to the total number of predictions (the number of test data points).

Precision tells us what proportion of messages we classified as spam, actually were spam. It is a ratio of true positives(words classified as spam, and which are actually spam) to all positives(all words classified as spam, irrespective of whether that was the correct classificatio), in other words it is the ratio of

[True Positives/(True Positives + False Positives)]

Recall(sensitivity) tells us what proportion of messages that actually were spam were classified by us as spam. It is a ratio of true positives(words classified as spam, and which are actually spam) to all the words that were actually spam, in other words it is the ratio of

[True Positives/(True Positives + False Negatives)]

For classification problems that are skewed in their classification distributions like in our case, for example if we had a 100 text messages and only 2 were spam and the rest 98 weren't, accuracy by itself is not a very good metric. We could classify 90 messages as not spam(including the 2 that were spam but we classify them as not spam, hence they would be false negatives) and 10 as spam(all 10 false positives) and still get a reasonably good accuracy score. For such cases, precision and recall come in very handy. These two metrics can be combined to get the F1 score, which is weighted average(harmonic mean) of the precision and recall scores. This score can range from 0 to 1, with 1 being the best possible F1 score(we take the harmonic mean as we are dealing with ratios).

Question 1 - Naive Predictor Performace

  • If we chose a model that always predicted an individual made more than $50,000, what would that model's accuracy and F-score be on this dataset? You must use the code cell below and assign your results to 'accuracy' and 'fscore' to be used later.

Please note that the the purpose of generating a naive predictor is simply to show what a base model without any intelligence would look like. In the real world, ideally your base model would be either the results of a previous model or could be based on a research paper upon which you are looking to improve. When there is no benchmark model set, getting a result better than random choice is a place you could start from.


  • When we have a model that always predicts '1' (i.e. the individual makes more than 50k) then our model will have no True Negatives(TN) or False Negatives(FN) as we are not making any negative('0' value) predictions. Therefore our Accuracy in this case becomes the same as our Precision(True Positives/(True Positives + False Positives)) as every prediction that we have made with value '1' that should have '0' becomes a False Positive; therefore our denominator in this case is the total number of records we have in total.
  • Our Recall score(True Positives/(True Positives + False Negatives)) in this setting becomes 1 as we have no False Negatives.
In [52]:
TP = np.sum(income) # Counting the ones as this is the naive case. Note that 'income' is the 'income_raw' data 
encoded to numerical values done in the data preprocessing step.
FP = income.count() - TP # Specific to the naive case

TN = 0 # No predicted negatives in the naive case
FN = 0 # No predicted negatives in the naive case
# TODO: Calculate accuracy, precision and recall

TP = np.sum(income)
FP = income.count() - TP
TN = 0 
FN = 0
accuracy = (TP + TN) / income.count()
recall = TP /(TP + FN)
precision = TP/(TP + FP)

# TODO: Calculate F-score using the formula above for beta = 0.5 and correct values for precision and recall.
fscore = (1 + 0.5*0.5)*(precision * recall)/(0.5*0.5*precision + recall)

# Print the results 
print("Naive Predictor: [Accuracy score: {:.4f}, F-score: {:.4f}]".format(accuracy, fscore))
Naive Predictor: [Accuracy score: 0.2478, F-score: 0.2917]

Supervised Learning Models

The following are some of the supervised learning models that are currently available in scikit-learn that you may choose from:

  • Gaussian Naive Bayes (GaussianNB)
  • Decision Trees
  • Ensemble Methods (Bagging, AdaBoost, Random Forest, Gradient Boosting)
  • K-Nearest Neighbors (KNeighbors)
  • Stochastic Gradient Descent Classifier (SGDC)
  • Support Vector Machines (SVM)
  • Logistic Regression

Question 2 - Model Application

List three of the supervised learning models above that are appropriate for this problem that you will test on the census data. For each model chosen

  • Describe one real-world application in industry where the model can be applied.
  • What are the strengths of the model; when does it perform well?
  • What are the weaknesses of the model; when does it perform poorly?
  • What makes this model a good candidate for the problem, given what you know about the data?


Structure your answer in the same format as above^, with 4 parts for each of the three models you pick. Please include references with your answer.


1. Logistic regression

  • Example
    Netflix Recommendations: "Many supervised classification methods can be used for ranking. Typical choices include Logistic Regression"
  • Strengths
    Training and prediction time is fast because it doesn't contain or require complex mathematical stuff. Therefore, it is the very popular model to use in the real production.
  • Weakness
    Because of how simple it is, many times it has a high bias and might performs terribly on the complex datasets or more complicated problems.
  • Why
    In this example, it is a good benchmark for this problem due to its simplicity. Moreover, A lot of real world binary classification has been using this model for a long time.

2. Decision tree

  • Example
    Decision Trees for Decision Making
  • Strengths
    Tree can be visualized and searched for feature importances. It's also easy for interpretation and very popular among business analysts/managers.
  • Weakness
    1 Word, OVERFIT! Most of the time it is not practically to be used in the production/training. That's why we have Random forest and Gradient boosting to aggregate a bulk of trees and reduce those high variance in a decision tree.
  • Why
    Decision tree is well known for feature selections because the way its computing is straight-forward and very easy to be intrepreted by us, humans. I think it will give us some insights from features.

3. Gradient Boosting tree

  • Example
    Automated Machine Learning at Airbnb
  • Strengths
    It often has the best score/performance comparing to other models. Not overfitting is also one good thing for this model because it is using the concept of ensemble methods, to reduce the varaiance in the prediction.
  • Weakness
    It takes a lot of time to train/predict. Moreover, it has to tune a lot of hyperparameters.
  • Why
    Gradient boosting tree has been popular among kagglers (xgboost) because of its performance and flexibility. For this particular problem, it is a good idea to give a shot with gradient boosting tree and after that just compare and evaluate with other models.

Implementation - Creating a Training and Predicting Pipeline

To properly evaluate the performance of each model you've chosen, it's important that you create a training and predicting pipeline that allows you to quickly and effectively train models using various sizes of training data and perform predictions on the testing data. Your implementation here will be used in the following section. In the code block below, you will need to implement the following:

  • Import fbeta_score and accuracy_score from sklearn.metrics.
  • Fit the learner to the sampled training data and record the training time.
  • Perform predictions on the test data X_test, and also on the first 300 training points X_train[:300].
    • Record the total prediction time.
  • Calculate the accuracy score for both the training subset and testing set.
  • Calculate the F-score for both the training subset and testing set.
    • Make sure that you set the beta parameter!
In [55]:
# TODO: Import two metrics from sklearn - fbeta_score and accuracy_score
from sklearn.metrics import fbeta_score, accuracy_score

def train_predict(learner, sample_size, X_train, y_train, X_test, y_test): 
       - learner: the learning algorithm to be trained and predicted on
       - sample_size: the size of samples (number) to be drawn from training set
       - X_train: features training set
       - y_train: income training set
       - X_test: features testing set
       - y_test: income testing set
    results = {}
    # TODO: Fit the learner to the training data using slicing with 'sample_size' using .fit(training_features[:], training_labels[:])
    start = time() # Get start time
    learner =[:sample_size], y_train[:sample_size])
    end = time() # Get end time
    # TODO: Calculate the training time
    results['train_time'] = end - start
    # TODO: Get the predictions on the test set(X_test),
    #       then get predictions on the first 300 training samples(X_train) using .predict()
    start = time() # Get start time
    predictions_test = learner.predict(X_test)
    predictions_train = learner.predict(X_train[:300])
    end = time() # Get end time
    # TODO: Calculate the total prediction time
    results['pred_time'] = end - start
    # TODO: Compute accuracy on the first 300 training samples which is y_train[:300]
    results['acc_train'] = accuracy_score(y_train[:300], predictions_train)
    # TODO: Compute accuracy on test set using accuracy_score()
    results['acc_test'] = accuracy_score(y_test, predictions_test)
    # TODO: Compute F-score on the the first 300 training samples using fbeta_score()
    results['f_train'] = fbeta_score(y_train[:300], predictions_train, 0.5)
    # TODO: Compute F-score on the test set which is y_test
    results['f_test'] = fbeta_score(y_test, predictions_test, 0.5)
    # Success
    print("{} trained on {} samples.".format(learner.__class__.__name__, sample_size))
    # Return the results
    return results

Implementation: Initial Model Evaluation

In the code cell, you will need to implement the following:

  • Import the three supervised learning models you've discussed in the previous section.
  • Initialize the three models and store them in 'clf_A', 'clf_B', and 'clf_C'.
    • Use a 'random_state' for each model you use, if provided.
    • Note: Use the default settings for each model β€” you will tune one specific model in a later section.
  • Calculate the number of records equal to 1%, 10%, and 100% of the training data.
    • Store those values in 'samples_1', 'samples_10', and 'samples_100' respectively.

Note: Depending on which algorithms you chose, the following implementation may take some time to run!

In [56]:
# TODO: Import the three supervised learning models from sklearn
from sklearn.linear_model import LogisticRegression
from sklearn.tree import DecisionTreeClassifier
from sklearn.ensemble import GradientBoostingClassifier

# TODO: Initialize the three models
clf_A = LogisticRegression(random_state=123)
clf_B = DecisionTreeClassifier(random_state=123)
clf_C = GradientBoostingClassifier(random_state=123)

# TODO: Calculate the number of samples for 1%, 10%, and 100% of the training data
# HINT: samples_100 is the entire training set i.e. len(y_train)
# HINT: samples_10 is 10% of samples_100 (ensure to set the count of the values to be `int` and not `float`)
# HINT: samples_1 is 1% of samples_100 (ensure to set the count of the values to be `int` and not `float`)
samples_100 = len(X_train)
samples_10 = int(len(X_train) * 0.1)
samples_1 = int(len(X_train) * 0.01)

# Collect results on the learners
results = {}
for clf in [clf_A, clf_B, clf_C]:
    clf_name = clf.__class__.__name__
    results[clf_name] = {}
    for i, samples in enumerate([samples_1, samples_10, samples_100]):
        results[clf_name][i] = \
        train_predict(clf, samples, X_train, y_train, X_test, y_test)

# Run metrics visualization for the three supervised learning models chosen
vs.evaluate(results, accuracy, fscore)
LogisticRegression trained on 361 samples.
LogisticRegression trained on 3617 samples.
LogisticRegression trained on 36177 samples.
DecisionTreeClassifier trained on 361 samples.
DecisionTreeClassifier trained on 3617 samples.
DecisionTreeClassifier trained on 36177 samples.
GradientBoostingClassifier trained on 361 samples.
GradientBoostingClassifier trained on 3617 samples.
GradientBoostingClassifier trained on 36177 samples.

Improving Results

In this final section, you will choose from the three supervised learning models the best model to use on the student data. You will then perform a grid search optimization for the model over the entire training set (X_train and y_train) by tuning at least one parameter to improve upon the untuned model's F-score.

Question 3 - Choosing the Best Model

  • Based on the evaluation you performed earlier, in one to two paragraphs, explain to CharityML which of the three models you believe to be most appropriate for the task of identifying individuals that make more than \$50,000.

HINT: Look at the graph at the bottom left from the cell above(the visualization created by vs.evaluate(results, accuracy, fscore)) and check the F score for the testing set when 100% of the training set is used. Which model has the highest score? Your answer should include discussion of the:

  • metrics - F score on the testing when 100% of the training data is used,
  • prediction/training time
  • the algorithm's suitability for the data.

Answer: According to the visualization, the best model on testing set that performs highest F-score is Gradient Boosting tree. Although it takes longer to train than other models, it is worth to wait for that. If your model can predict just slightly 1% better, it might help you identify more than 100 people who are willing to donate and save a lot of costs from sending random emails to audiences; now you can do whatever campaign directly to them. Even though the Decision tree on the training set has the better F score than that of Gradient Boosting tree , it is overfitted leading to very bad performance on testing set(the worst among 3 models).

Question 4 - Describing the Model in Layman's Terms

  • In one to two paragraphs, explain to CharityML, in layman's terms, how the final model chosen is supposed to work. Be sure that you are describing the major qualities of the model, such as how the model is trained and how the model makes a prediction. Avoid using advanced mathematical jargon, such as describing equations.


When explaining your model, if using external resources please include all citations.

Answer: Gradient boosting tree is the idea to combine the weak learners to be the strong learner by using gradient descent technique to optimize and tune hyperparameters for each tree. </br>

First of all, we start with only 1 tree (think of it as the decision tree). This first tree doesn't have to be perfect. We give it some features/ samples and try to limit the depth of tree, numbers of leafs, etc. Expectedly, this single tree is not good at all. So we construct the new tree with prior knowledge from the last one (the first tree in this case) and use the gradient descent technique to slightly optimize weights of hyperparameters for this new tree to be better than the previous tree. This is why Gradient boosting tree is very powerful because they try to learn from the mistakes of the previous trees and use that lessons to apply to the current tree. We repeat this process until it reachs the numbers of trees that we want. Now we have a strong learner getting ready to predict the new data for us.

Implementation: Model Tuning

Fine tune the chosen model. Use grid search (GridSearchCV) with at least one important parameter tuned with at least 3 different values. You will need to use the entire training set for this. In the code cell below, you will need to implement the following:

  • Import sklearn.grid_search.GridSearchCV and sklearn.metrics.make_scorer.
  • Initialize the classifier you've chosen and store it in clf.
    • Set a random_state if one is available to the same state you set before.
  • Create a dictionary of parameters you wish to tune for the chosen model.
    • Example: parameters = {'parameter' : [list of values]}.
    • Note: Avoid tuning the max_features parameter of your learner if that parameter is available!
  • Use make_scorer to create an fbeta_score scoring object (with $\beta = 0.5$).
  • Perform grid search on the classifier clf using the 'scorer', and store it in grid_obj.
  • Fit the grid search object to the training data (X_train, y_train), and store it in grid_fit.

Note: Depending on the algorithm chosen and the parameter list, the following implementation may take some time to run!

In [62]:
# TODO: Import 'GridSearchCV', 'make_scorer', and any other necessary libraries
from sklearn.model_selection import GridSearchCV
from sklearn.metrics import make_scorer

# TODO: Initialize the classifier
clf = GradientBoostingClassifier(random_state=123)

# TODO: Create the parameters list you wish to tune, using a dictionary if needed.
# HINT: parameters = {'parameter_1': [value1, value2], 'parameter_2': [value1, value2]}
parameters = {
                'loss': ['deviance', 'exponential'],
                'learning_rate': [0.01, 0.02, 0.1],
                'n_estimators': [100, 200, 300, 400, 500],
                'max_depth': [3, 4, 5, 6, 7],
                'subsample': [0.7, 0.8, 0.9]

# TODO: Make an fbeta_score scoring object using make_scorer()
scorer = make_scorer(fbeta_score, beta=0.5)

# TODO: Perform grid search on the classifier using 'scorer' as the scoring method using GridSearchCV()
grid_obj = GridSearchCV(clf, parameters, scorer, n_jobs=-1, cv=3)

# TODO: Fit the grid search object to the training data and find the optimal parameters using fit()
grid_fit =, y_train)

# Get the estimator
best_clf = grid_fit.best_estimator_

# Make predictions using the unoptimized and model
predictions = (, y_train)).predict(X_test)
best_predictions = best_clf.predict(X_test)

# Report the before-and-afterscores
print("Unoptimized model\n------")
print("Accuracy score on testing data: {:.4f}".format(accuracy_score(y_test, predictions)))
print("F-score on testing data: {:.4f}".format(fbeta_score(y_test, predictions, beta = 0.5)))
print("\nOptimized Model\n------")
print("Final accuracy score on the testing data: {:.4f}".format(accuracy_score(y_test, best_predictions)))
print("Final F-score on the testing data: {:.4f}".format(fbeta_score(y_test, best_predictions, beta = 0.5)))
Unoptimized model
Accuracy score on testing data: 0.8630
F-score on testing data: 0.7395

Optimized Model
Final accuracy score on the testing data: 0.8702
Final F-score on the testing data: 0.7511
In [63]:
GradientBoostingClassifier(criterion='friedman_mse', init=None,
              learning_rate=0.02, loss='deviance', max_depth=6,
              max_features=None, max_leaf_nodes=None,
              min_impurity_decrease=0.0, min_impurity_split=None,
              min_samples_leaf=1, min_samples_split=2,
              min_weight_fraction_leaf=0.0, n_estimators=400,
              presort='auto', random_state=123, subsample=0.8, verbose=0,

Question 5 - Final Model Evaluation

  • What is your optimized model's accuracy and F-score on the testing data?
  • Are these scores better or worse than the unoptimized model?
  • How do the results from your optimized model compare to the naive predictor benchmarks you found earlier in Question 1?_

Note: Fill in the table below with your results, and then provide discussion in the Answer box.


Metric Unoptimized Model Optimized Model
Accuracy Score 0.8630 0.8702
F-score 0.7395 0.7511

Answer: The optimized Model is better than both Accuracy score and F score of unoptimized model.

Comparing these scores to the baseline in question 1, it is doing hugely better than naive guess (0.2478 vs 0.8702, 0.2917 vs 0.7511).

Feature Importance

An important task when performing supervised learning on a dataset like the census data we study here is determining which features provide the most predictive power. By focusing on the relationship between only a few crucial features and the target label we simplify our understanding of the phenomenon, which is most always a useful thing to do. In the case of this project, that means we wish to identify a small number of features that most strongly predict whether an individual makes at most or more than \$50,000.

Choose a scikit-learn classifier (e.g., adaboost, random forests) that has a feature_importance_ attribute, which is a function that ranks the importance of features according to the chosen classifier. In the next python cell fit this classifier to training set and use this attribute to determine the top 5 most important features for the census dataset.

Question 6 - Feature Relevance Observation

When Exploring the Data, it was shown there are thirteen available features for each individual on record in the census data. Of these thirteen records, which five features do you believe to be most important for prediction, and in what order would you rank them and why?

Most important to least important

  1. Age: the more work experiences, the more you have a higher income.
  2. Capital Gain: I think assets are one of the indicators that often correlates with income.
  3. Education Num: Better education usually open a lot of opportunities including high paid jobs.
  4. Hours-per-week: The more you work, the more company pay to you.
  5. Workclass: Private might pay higher than Government. Also, Never worked means no income.

Implementation - Extracting Feature Importance

Choose a scikit-learn supervised learning algorithm that has a feature_importance_ attribute availble for it. This attribute is a function that ranks the importance of each feature when making predictions based on the chosen algorithm.

In the code cell below, you will need to implement the following:

  • Import a supervised learning model from sklearn if it is different from the three used earlier.
  • Train the supervised model on the entire training set.
  • Extract the feature importances using '.feature_importances_'.
In [65]:
# TODO: Import a supervised learning model that has 'feature_importances_'

# TODO: Train the supervised model on the training set using .fit(X_train, y_train)
model = GradientBoostingClassifier(random_state=123).fit(X_train, y_train)

# TODO: Extract the feature importances using .feature_importances_ 
importances = model.feature_importances_ 

# Plot
vs.feature_plot(importances, X_train, y_train)

Question 7 - Extracting Feature Importance

Observe the visualization created above which displays the five most relevant features for predicting if an individual makes at most or above \$50,000.

  • How do these five features compare to the five features you discussed in Question 6?
  • If you were close to the same answer, how does this visualization confirm your thoughts?
  • If you were not close, why do you think these features are more relevant?

Answer: The captial-gain, age and education-num are 3 features I've got right. Unfortunately, Hours per week and worker class are not in the top five features. The reasons of the captial-gain, age and education-num have been discussed in question 6. I think capital loss plays a huge role here because it's a great signal that the individuals may have to sell their assets for financial crisis due to losing his jobs, unemployment, less income. For marital-status, this is because if individuals are doing great on their jobs(high income, good career), that means they are ready to have a family. This implies us that they have a higher income.

Feature Selection

How does a model perform if we only use a subset of all the available features in the data? With less features required to train, the expectation is that training and prediction time is much lower β€” at the cost of performance metrics. From the visualization above, we see that the top five most important features contribute more than half of the importance of all features present in the data. This hints that we can attempt to reduce the feature space and simplify the information required for the model to learn. The code cell below will use the same optimized model you found earlier, and train it on the same training set with only the top five important features.

In [66]:
# Import functionality for cloning a model
from sklearn.base import clone

# Reduce the feature space
X_train_reduced = X_train[X_train.columns.values[(np.argsort(importances)[::-1])[:5]]]
X_test_reduced = X_test[X_test.columns.values[(np.argsort(importances)[::-1])[:5]]]

# Train on the "best" model found from grid search earlier
clf = (clone(best_clf)).fit(X_train_reduced, y_train)

# Make new predictions
reduced_predictions = clf.predict(X_test_reduced)

# Report scores from the final model using both versions of data
print("Final Model trained on full data\n------")
print("Accuracy on testing data: {:.4f}".format(accuracy_score(y_test, best_predictions)))
print("F-score on testing data: {:.4f}".format(fbeta_score(y_test, best_predictions, beta = 0.5)))
print("\nFinal Model trained on reduced data\n------")
print("Accuracy on testing data: {:.4f}".format(accuracy_score(y_test, reduced_predictions)))
print("F-score on testing data: {:.4f}".format(fbeta_score(y_test, reduced_predictions, beta = 0.5)))
Final Model trained on full data
Accuracy on testing data: 0.8702
F-score on testing data: 0.7511

Final Model trained on reduced data
Accuracy on testing data: 0.8589
F-score on testing data: 0.7248

Question 8 - Effects of Feature Selection

  • How does the final model's F-score and accuracy score on the reduced data using only five features compare to those same scores when all features are used?
  • If training time was a factor, would you consider using the reduced data as your training set?
In [69]:
# Comparing 5 features vs full features
def compare_time(clf, mode):
    start = time()
    if mode =='full':
        model =, y_train)
        model =, y_train)
    end = time()
    print(f'Training time for {mode}: {end-start}')
    return model
clf = best_clf    
reduced_clf = clone(best_clf)

_ = compare_time(clf, 'full')
_ = compare_time(reduced_clf, 'reduced')
Training time for full: 111.15343403816223
Training time for reduced: 10.068135499954224

Answer: Using only top 5 features makes model perform worse. However, Accuracy score drops around just 2% and F-score drops around 3% which I think it is not that much (remember that we've used only 5 features).

If training time was a factor, I would consider using the reduced data (5 features). The gradient boosting tree with only 5 features can save 91% of time ( 10 seconds vs 111 seconds!). Also, do not forget that other models which were trained on full training set such as Logistic Regression and Decision Tree have F score only around 0.60 - 0.65. Thus, I think model training on reduced data is not that bad and can be deployed to a production without problems at all.

Note: Once you have completed all of the code implementations and successfully answered each question above, you may finalize your work by exporting the iPython Notebook as an HTML document. You can do this by using the menu above and navigating to
File -> Download as -> HTML (.html). Include the finished document along with this notebook as your submission.