It takes more than just making predictions and fitting models for machine learning algorithms to become increasingly accurate. Feature engineering and ensemble techniques have been used by most successful models in the business or competitions to improve their performance. Compared to Feature Engineering, these strategies are simpler to use, which is why they have gained popularity. 

What Is Gradient Boosting?

Gradient Boosting is a functional gradient algorithm that repeatedly selects a function that leads in the direction of a weak hypothesis or negative gradient so that it can minimize a loss function. Gradient boosting classifier combines several weak learning models to produce a powerful predicting model.

Read More: What is Scikit Learn? 

Gradient Boosting in Classification

Gradient Boosting consists of three essential parts:

Loss Function

The loss function's purpose is to calculate how well the model predicts, given the available data. Depending on the particular issue at hand, this may change. 

Weak Learner

A weak learner classifies the data, but it makes a lot of mistakes in doing so. Usually, these are decision trees.

Additive Model

This is how the trees are added incrementally, iteratively, and sequentially. You should be getting closer to your final model with each iteration.

Steps to Gradient Boosting

Gradient boosting classifier requires these steps: 

  • Fit the model
  • Adapt the model's Hyperparameters and Parameters.
  • Make forecasts
  •  Interpret the findings

An Intuitive Understanding:

Visualizing Gradient Boosting

1. The method will obtain the log of the chances to make early predictions about the data. Typically, this is the ratio of the number of True values to the False values.

2. If you have a dataset of six cancer occurrences, with four people with cancer and three who are not suffering, then the log(odds) is equal to log(4/3) 1.3, and the person who is free of cancer will have a value of 0. The person who has cancer will have a value of 1. 

3. To make predictions, you must first convert the log(odds) to a probability with the help of a logistic function. Here, it would be around 1.3, the same as the log(odds) value of 1.3

4. Since it is greater than 0.5, the algorithm will use 1.3 as its baseline estimate for each occurrence.

e * log(odds) / (1 + e * log(odds))

5. The above formula will determine the residuals for each occurrence in the training set.

6. After completing this, it constructs a Decision Tree to forecast the estimated residuals. 

7. A maximum number of leaves can be used while creating a decision tree. This results in two potential outcomes:

  • Several instances are into the same leaf.
  • The leaf is not a single instance.

You must use a formula to modify these values here:

ΣResidual / Previous Prob (1 - Previous Prob)]

8. You must now complete two things:

  • Obtain the log forecast for each training set instance.
  • Transform the forecast into a probability.

9. The formula for producing predictions would be as follows:

base_log_odds + (learning_rate * predicted residual value)

A Mathematical Understanding

1. Initialize the model with a constant value:

Fo(x)= argmini=1nL(yi,

For m=1 to M:

  • Compute residuals rim=L(yi, F(x)=Fm-1(X) F(f(xi)

       for i = 1,..., n

  • Train regression tree with features x against r and create terminal node reasons

 R for j = 1,..., Jm

  • Compute jm=argminXiRjmL(Yi,Fm-1(Xi)+) for j=1,......Jm
  • Update the model:

Fm(x)= Fm-1 (x)+vj=1Jmjm1(xRjm)

Different Improved Gradient Boosting Classifiers

Grading boosting systems can readily overfit on a training data set; however, overfitting can be prevented by using various restrictions or regularization techniques that improve algorithm performance. 

Penalized Learning

Certain constraints can prevent overfitting depending on the decision tree's topology. A regression tree is a tool that can be used in gradient boosting algorithms. 

Tree Constraints

By restricting the number of observations each split, the number of observations trained on, the depth of the tree, and the number of leaves or nodes in the tree, you may control the gradient.

Random Sampling/Stochastic Boosting

Stochastic gradient boosting, a method that involves randomly selecting subsamples from the training data set, can also aid in avoiding overfitting.

Shrinkage/Weighted Updates

The contributions of the trees can be blocked or slowed down using a method known as shrinkage since the forecasts of each tree are added together.

Implementation of Gradient Boosting in Python

import pandas as pd

import numpy as np

From sklearn.metrics import classification_report

from sklearn.datasets import load_breast_cancer

from sklearn.ensemble import GradientBoostingClassifier

from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split

Importing the essential libraries, you require to proceed is the first step. The datasets used in this example include the cancer dataset, train _test split, gradient boosting, classification report, and numpy. 

df = pd.DataFrame(load_breast_cancer()['data'],


df['y'] = load_breast_cancer()['target']


The following step is to ensure that you use the pandas library while working with data frames. 

X,y = df.drop('y',axis=1),df.y

test_size = 0.30 # taking 70:30 training and test set

seed = 7 # Random number seeding for repeatability of the code

X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(X, y, test_size=test_size, random_state=seed)

The train test split function splits the dataset into testing parts and training.

gradient_booster = GradientBoostingClassifier(learning_rate=0.1)

Gradient boosting classifiers are required to implement gradient boosting.,y_train)

The training dataset must now be used to fit the model; if the data is appropriately fitted, it will result in good accuracy.


Use the Python module named classification report to verify the correctness and quality of the accuracy report ().

You'll observe that this particular model gives you 99% accuracy.

Comparing and Contrasting AdaBoost and Gradient Boost

  • AdaBoost is the first boosting algorithm created with a specific loss function. Gradient Boosting is a general technique that aids in looking for approximations to the additive modeling problem's answers.
  • AdaBoost works best with weak learners and minimizes the loss function associated with any classification error. The problem of the differentiable loss function is solved using gradient boosting.
  • Gradient Boosting uses gradients to identify the weaknesses of the weak learners, while AdaBoost uses high-weight data points to do the same.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gradient Boost


  • Frequently has remarkable forecasting accuracy.
  • Numerous choices for hyperparameter adjustment and the ability to optimize various loss functions. 
  • It frequently works well with numerical and categorical values without pre-processing the input.
  • Deals with missing data; imputation is not necessary.


  • Gradient Boosting classifier will keep getting better to reduce all inaccuracies. This may lead to overfitting and an overemphasis on outliers.
  • Costly to compute since it frequently requires a large number of trees (>1000), which can be memory and time-consuming.
  • Due to the high degree of flexibility, numerous variables interact and significantly affect how the technique behaves.
  • Less interpretative, even though this can be easily corrected with several tools.

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It is possible to use a gradient boosting classifier, which is a strong algorithm, for classification and regression problems. On extremely complicated datasets, gradient boosting models can perform remarkably well, but they are also prone to overfitting, which can be avoided using several techniques. 

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Our Learners Also Ask

1. Can gradient boosting be used for classification?

Yes, Gradient Boosting can be used for classification.

2. What is a gradient boosting algorithm?

A machine learning method called gradient boosting is used in regression and classification problems. It provides a prediction model in the form of an ensemble of decision trees-like weak prediction models.

3. Which method is used in a model for gradient boosting classifier?

AdaBoosting algorithm is used by gradient boosting classifiers. The classifiers and weighted inputs are then recalculated once coupled with weighted minimization.

4. Is gradient boosting classifier a supervised or unsupervised?

It is a supervised machine learning method.

5. How is XGBoost different from gradient boosting?

XGBoostis a more regulated version of gradient boosting. When compared to gradient boosting, XGBoost offers exceptional performance. It has a quick learning curve and can parallelize across clusters.

6. What is the difference between gradient boosting and Random Forest?

They are different from one another by two key factors. The gradient boosting is trained progressively, one tree at a time, with each being trained to rectify the flaws of the preceding ones. On the other hand, we build each tree separately in a random forest.

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