In a world where nearly all manual tasks are being automated, the definition of manual is changing. There are now many different types of Machine Learning algorithms, some of which can help computers play chess, perform surgeries, and get smarter and more personal.

We are living in an era of constant technological progress, and looking at how computing has advanced over the years, we can predict what’s to come in the days ahead. 

One of the main features of this revolution that stands out is how computing tools and techniques have been democratized. Data scientists have built sophisticated data-crunching machines in the last 5 years by seamlessly executing advanced techniques. The results have been astounding. 

The many different types of machine learning algorithms have been designed in such dynamic times to help solve real-world complex problems. The ml algorithms are automated and self-modifying to continue improving over time. Before we delve into the top 10 machine learning algorithms you should know, let's take a look at the different types of machine learning algorithms and how they are classified. 

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Below is the list of Top 10 commonly used Machine Learning (ML) Algorithms:

  • Linear regression
  • Logistic regression
  • Decision tree
  • SVM algorithm
  • Naive Bayes algorithm
  • KNN algorithm
  • K-means
  • Random forest algorithm
  • Dimensionality reduction algorithms
  • Gradient boosting algorithm and AdaBoosting algorithm

Types of Machine Learning Algorithms

Machine learning algorithms are classified into 4 types:

  • Supervised
  • Unsupervised Learning
  • Semi-supervised Learning
  • Reinforcement Learning

Read More: Supervised and Unsupervised Learning in Machine Learning

Supervised Learning

Supervised learning is a machine learning approach where algorithms learn from labeled data. The algorithm receives input data and corresponding correct output labels in this process. The objective is to train the algorithm to predict accurate labels for new, unseen data. Examples of supervised learning algorithms include:

  • Decision Trees
  • Support Vector Machines
  • Random Forests
  • Naive Bayes

These algorithms can be used for classification, regression, and time series forecasting tasks. Supervised learning is widely used in various domains, including healthcare, finance, marketing, and image recognition, to make predictions and gain valuable insights from data.

Unsupervised Learning

In this machine learning approach, algorithms analyze unlabeled data without predefined output labels. The objective is to discover patterns, relationships, or structures within the data. Unlike supervised learning, unsupervised learning algorithms work independently to uncover hidden insights and group similar data points together. Common unsupervised learning techniques include clustering algorithms like:

  • K-means
  • Hierarchical clustering
  • Dimensionality Reduction Methods like PCA and t-SNE

Semi-supervised Learning

Semi-supervised learning is a hybrid machine learning approach that combines labeled and unlabeled data for training. It leverages the limited labeled data and a larger set of unlabeled data to improve the learning process. The idea is that the unlabeled data provide additional information and context to enhance the model's understanding and performance. By utilizing the unlabeled data effectively, semi-supervised learning can overcome the limitations of relying solely on labeled data. This approach is particularly useful when acquiring labeled data is expensive or time-consuming. Semi-supervised learning techniques can be applied to various tasks, such as classification, regression, and anomaly detection, allowing models to make more accurate predictions and generalize better in real-world scenarios.

Reinforcement Learning

Reinforcement learning is a machine learning algorithm inspired by how humans learn from trial and error. Here, an agent interacts with an environment and learns to make optimal decisions to maximize cumulative rewards. The agent receives feedback through rewards or penalties based on its actions. The agent learns to take actions that lead to the most favorable outcomes over time. It is commonly used in robotics, game playing, and autonomous systems. It enables machines to learn from their experiences, adapt to changing environments, and achieve long-term goals through a sequence of actions. This dynamic approach to learning makes reinforcement learning a powerful technique for tackling complex decision-making problems.

However, these four types of ml algorithms are further classified into more types. 

Read More: How to Become a Machine Learning Engineer?

1. Linear Regression

To understand the working functionality of Linear Regression, imagine how you would arrange random logs of wood in increasing order of their weight. There is a catch; however – you cannot weigh each log. You have to guess its weight just by looking at the height and girth of the log (visual analysis) and arranging them using a combination of these visible parameters. This is what linear regression in machine learning is like.

In this process, a relationship is established between independent and dependent variables by fitting them to a line. This line is known as the regression line and is represented by a linear equation Y= a *X + b.

In this equation:

  • Y – Dependent Variable
  • a – Slope
  • X – Independent variable
  • b – Intercept

The coefficients a & b are derived by minimizing the sum of the squared difference of distance between data points and the regression line.

2. Logistic Regression

Logistic Regression is used to estimate discrete values (usually binary values like 0/1) from a set of independent variables. It helps predict the probability of an event by fitting data to a logit function. It is also called logit regression.

These methods listed below are often used to help improve logistic regression models:

  • include interaction terms
  • eliminate features
  • regularize techniques
  • use a non-linear model

3. Decision Tree

Decision Tree algorithm in machine learning is one of the most popular algorithm in use today; this is a supervised learning algorithm that is used for classifying problems. It works well in classifying both categorical and continuous dependent variables. This algorithm divides the population into two or more homogeneous sets based on the most significant attributes/ independent variables.

4. SVM (Support Vector Machine) Algorithm

SVM algorithm is a method of a classification algorithm in which you plot raw data as points in an n-dimensional space (where n is the number of features you have). The value of each feature is then tied to a particular coordinate, making it easy to classify the data. Lines called classifiers can be used to split the data and plot them on a graph.

5. Naive Bayes Algorithm

A Naive Bayes classifier assumes that the presence of a particular feature in a class is unrelated to the presence of any other feature.

Even if these features are related to each other, a Naive Bayes classifier would consider all of these properties independently when calculating the probability of a particular outcome.

A Naive Bayesian model is easy to build and useful for massive datasets. It's simple and is known to outperform even highly sophisticated classification methods.

6. KNN (K- Nearest Neighbors) Algorithm

This algorithm can be applied to both classification and regression problems. Apparently, within the Data Science industry, it's more widely used to solve classification problems. It’s a simple algorithm that stores all available cases and classifies any new cases by taking a majority vote of its k neighbors. The case is then assigned to the class with which it has the most in common. A distance function performs this measurement.

KNN can be easily understood by comparing it to real life. For example, if you want information about a person, it makes sense to talk to his or her friends and colleagues!

Things to consider before selecting K Nearest Neighbours Algorithm: 

  • KNN is computationally expensive
  • Variables should be normalized, or else higher range variables can bias the algorithm
  • Data still needs to be pre-processed.

7. K-Means

It is an unsupervised learning algorithm that solves clustering problems. Data sets are classified into a particular number of clusters (let's call that number K) in such a way that all the data points within a cluster are homogenous and heterogeneous from the data in other clusters.

How K-means forms clusters:

  • The K-means algorithm picks k number of points, called centroids, for each cluster.
  • Each data point forms a cluster with the closest centroids, i.e., K clusters.
  • It now creates new centroids based on the existing cluster members.
  • With these new centroids, the closest distance for each data point is determined. This process is repeated until the centroids do not change.

8. Random Forest Algorithm

A collective of decision trees is called a Random Forest. To classify a new object based on its attributes, each tree is classified, and the tree “votes” for that class. The forest chooses the classification having the most votes (over all the trees in the forest).

Each tree is planted & grown as follows:

  • If the number of cases in the training set is N, then a sample of N cases is taken at random. This sample will be the training set for growing the tree.
  • If there are M input variables, a number m<<M is specified such that at each node, m variables are selected at random out of the M, and the best split on this m is used to split the node. The value of m is held constant during this process.
  • Each tree is grown to the most substantial extent possible. There is no pruning. 

9. Dimensionality Reduction Algorithms

In today's world, vast amounts of data are being stored and analyzed by corporates, government agencies, and research organizations. As a data scientist, you know that this raw data contains a lot of information - the challenge is to identify significant patterns and variables.

Dimensionality reduction algorithms like Decision Tree, Factor Analysis, Missing Value Ratio, and Random Forest can help you find relevant details.

10. Gradient Boosting Algorithm and AdaBoosting Algorithm

Gradient Boosting Algorithm and AdaBoosting Algorithm are boosting algorithms used when massive loads of data have to be handled to make predictions with high accuracy. Boosting is an ensemble learning algorithm that combines the predictive power of several base estimators to improve robustness.

In short, it combines multiple weak or average predictors to build a strong predictor. These boosting algorithms always work well in data science competitions like Kaggle, AV Hackathon, CrowdAnalytix. These are the most preferred machine learning algorithms today. Use them, along with Python and R Codes, to achieve accurate outcomes.

How Learning These Vital Algorithms Can Enhance Your Skills in Machine Learning

If you're a data scientist or a machine learning enthusiast, you can use these techniques to create functional Machine Learning projects.

There are three types of most popular Machine Learning algorithms, i.e - supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. All three techniques are used in this list of 10 common Machine Learning Algorithms: 

Machine Learning Algorithms

Also Read: Training for a Career in AI & Machine Learning

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Also, prepare yourself for Machine Learning interview questions to land at your dream job!


1. What is an algorithm in machine learning?

Algorithms in machine learning are mathematical procedures and techniques that allow computers to learn from data, identify patterns, make predictions, or perform tasks without explicit programming. These algorithms can be categorized into various types, such as supervised learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, and more.

2. What are the three types of machine learning algorithms?

The three basic machine learning algorithms are:

  1. Supervised Learning: Algorithms learn from labeled data to make predictions or classify new data.
  2. Unsupervised Learning: Algorithms analyze unlabeled data to discover patterns, group similar data, or reduce dimensions.
  3. Reinforcement Learning: Here, algorithms learn through trial and error by interacting with an environment to maximize rewards.

3. What are the 4 machine learning algorithm?

The 4 machine learning algorithms are:

  • Supervised Algorithm
  • Unsupervised Algorithm
  • Semi-Supervised Algorithm
  • Reinforcement Algorithm

4. Which ML algorithm is best for prediction?

The best ML algorithm for prediction depends on variety of factors such as the nature of the problem, the type of data, and the specific requirements. Popular algorithms for prediction tasks include Support Vector Machines, Random Forests, and Gradient Boosting methods. However, the choice of an algorithm should be based on experimentation and evaluation of the specific problem and dataset at hand.

5. What is the difference between supervised and unsupervised learning algorithms?

The primary difference between supervised and unsupervised learning lies in the type of data used for training. Supervised learning algorithms use labeled data, where the target output is known, to learn patterns and make predictions. Unsupervised learning algorithms work with unlabeled data, relying on intrinsic patterns and relationships to group data points or discover hidden structures.

6. Is CNN a machine learning algorithm?

A convolutional neural network (CNN or convnet) is a type of artificial neural network used for various tasks, especially with images and videos. It's a part of machine learning and works with different kinds of data.

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