You are previewing Machine Learning for Hackers.

Machine Learning for Hackers

Cover of Machine Learning for Hackers by Drew Conway... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Machine Learning for Hackers
  2. Preface
    1. Machine Learning for Hackers
    2. How This Book Is Organized
    3. Conventions Used in This Book
    4. Using Code Examples
    5. Safari® Books Online
    6. How to Contact Us
    7. Acknowledgements
  3. 1. Using R
    1. R for Machine Learning
      1. Downloading and Installing R
      2. IDEs and Text Editors
      3. Loading and Installing R Packages
      4. R Basics for Machine Learning
      5. Further Reading on R
  4. 2. Data Exploration
    1. Exploration versus Confirmation
    2. What Is Data?
    3. Inferring the Types of Columns in Your Data
    4. Inferring Meaning
    5. Numeric Summaries
    6. Means, Medians, and Modes
    7. Quantiles
    8. Standard Deviations and Variances
    9. Exploratory Data Visualization
    10. Visualizing the Relationships Between Columns
  5. 3. Classification: Spam Filtering
    1. This or That: Binary Classification
    2. Moving Gently into Conditional Probability
    3. Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier
      1. Defining the Classifier and Testing It with Hard Ham
      2. Testing the Classifier Against All Email Types
      3. Improving the Results
  6. 4. Ranking: Priority Inbox
    1. How Do You Sort Something When You Don’t Know the Order?
    2. Ordering Email Messages by Priority
      1. Priority Features of Email
    3. Writing a Priority Inbox
      1. Functions for Extracting the Feature Set
      2. Creating a Weighting Scheme for Ranking
      3. Weighting from Email Thread Activity
      4. Training and Testing the Ranker
  7. 5. Regression: Predicting Page Views
    1. Introducing Regression
      1. The Baseline Model
      2. Regression Using Dummy Variables
      3. Linear Regression in a Nutshell
    2. Predicting Web Traffic
    3. Defining Correlation
  8. 6. Regularization: Text Regression
    1. Nonlinear Relationships Between Columns: Beyond Straight Lines
      1. Introducing Polynomial Regression
    2. Methods for Preventing Overfitting
      1. Preventing Overfitting with Regularization
    3. Text Regression
      1. Logistic Regression to the Rescue
  9. 7. Optimization: Breaking Codes
    1. Introduction to Optimization
    2. Ridge Regression
    3. Code Breaking as Optimization
  10. 8. PCA: Building a Market Index
    1. Unsupervised Learning
  11. 9. MDS: Visually Exploring US Senator Similarity
    1. Clustering Based on Similarity
      1. A Brief Introduction to Distance Metrics and Multidirectional Scaling
    2. How Do US Senators Cluster?
      1. Analyzing US Senator Roll Call Data (101st–111th Congresses)
  12. 10. kNN: Recommendation Systems
    1. The k-Nearest Neighbors Algorithm
    2. R Package Installation Data
  13. 11. Analyzing Social Graphs
    1. Social Network Analysis
      1. Thinking Graphically
    2. Hacking Twitter Social Graph Data
      1. Working with the Google SocialGraph API
    3. Analyzing Twitter Networks
      1. Local Community Structure
      2. Visualizing the Clustered Twitter Network with Gephi
      3. Building Your Own “Who to Follow” Engine
  14. 12. Model Comparison
    1. SVMs: The Support Vector Machine
    2. Comparing Algorithms
  15. Works Cited
    1. Books
    2. Articles
  16. Index
  17. About the Authors
  18. Colophon
  19. Copyright
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Chapter 9. MDS: Visually Exploring US Senator Similarity

Clustering Based on Similarity

There are many situations where we might want to know how similar the members of a group of people are to one another. For instance, suppose that we were a brand marketing company that had just completed a research survey on a potential new brand. In the survey, we showed a group of people several features of the brand and asked them to rank the brand on each of these features using a five-point scale. We also collected a bunch of socioeconomic data from the subjects, such as age, gender, race, what zip code they live in, and their approximate annual income.

From this survey, we want to understand how the brand appeals across all of these socioeconomic variables. Most importantly, we want to know whether the brand has broad appeal. An alternative way of thinking about this problem is we want to see whether individuals who like most of the brand features have diverse socioeconomic features. A useful means of doing this would be to visualize how the survey respondents cluster. We could then use various visual cues to indicate their memberships in different socioeconomic categories. That is, we would want to see a large amount of mixing between gender, as well as among races and economic stratification.

Likewise, we could use this knowledge to see how close groups clustered based on the brand’s appeal. We could also see how many people were in one cluster as compared to others, or how far away other ...

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