Tag: logistic

# Calibrating algorithmic predictions with logistic regression

I found this interesting blog by Guilherme Duarte Marmerola where he shows how the predictions of algorithmic models (such as gradient boosted machines, or random forests) can be calibrated by stacking a logistic regression model on top of it: by using the predicted leaves of the algorithmic model as features / inputs in a subsequent logistic model.

When working with ML models such as GBMs, RFs, SVMs or kNNs (any one that is not a logistic regression) we can observe a pattern that is intriguing: the probabilities that the model outputs do not correspond to the real fraction of positives we see in real life.

Guilherme’s in his blog post

This is visible in the predictions of the light gradient boosted machine (LGBM) Guilherme trained: its predictions range only between ~ 0.45 and ~ 0.55. In contrast, the actual fraction of positive observations in those groups is much lower or higher (ranging from ~ 0.10 to ~0.85).

Motivated by `sklearn`’s topic Probability Calibration and the paper Practical Lessons from Predicting Clicks on Ads at Facebook, Guilherme continues to show how the output probabilities of a tree-based model can be calibrated, while simultenously improving its accuracy.

I highly recommend you look at Guilherme’s code to see for yourself what’s happening behind the scenes, but basically it’s this:

• Train an algorithmic model (e.g., GBM) using your regular features (data)
• Retrieve the probabilities GBM predicts
• Retrieve the leaves (end-nodes) in which the GBM sorts the observations
• Turn the array of leaves into a matrix of (one-hot-encoded) features, showing for each observation which leave it ended up in (1) and which not (many 0’s)
• Basically, until now, you have used the GBM to reduce the original features to a new, one-hot-encoded matrix of binary features
• Now you can use that matrix of new features as input for a logistic regression model predicting your target (Y) variable
• Apparently, those logistic regression predictions will show a greater spread of probabilities with the same or better accuracy

Here’s a visual depiction from Guilherme’s blog, with the original GBM predictions on the X-axis, and the new logistic predictions on the Y-axis.

As you can see, you retain roughly the same ordering, but the logistic regression probabilities spread is much larger.

Now according to Guilherme and the Facebook paper he refers to, the accuracy of the logistic predictions should not be less than those of the original algorithmic method.

Much better. The calibration plot of `lgbm+lr` is much closer to the ideal. Now, when the model tells us that the probability of success is 60%, we can actually be much more confident that this is the true fraction of success! Let us now try this with the ET model.

Guilherme in https://gdmarmerola.github.io/probability-calibration/

In his blog, Guilherme shows the same process visually for an Extremely Randomized Trees model, so I highly recommend you read the original article. Also, you can find the complete code on his GitHub.

# Logistic regression is not fucked, by Jake Westfall

Recently, I came across a social science paper that had used linear probability regression. I had never heard of linear probability models (LPM), but it seems just an application of ordinary least squares regression but to a binomial dependent variable.

According to some, LPM is a commonly used alternative for logistic regression, which is what I was learned to use when the outcome is binary.

Potentially because of my own social science background (HRM), using linear regression without a link transformation on binary data just seems very unintuitive and error-prone to me. Hence, I sought for more information.

I particularly liked this article by Jake Westfall, which he dubbed “Logistic regression is not fucked”, following a series of blogs in which he talks about methods that are fucked and not useful.

Jake explains the classification problem and both methods inner workings in a very straightforward way, using great visual aids. He shows how LMP would differ from logistic models, and why its proposed benefits are actually not so beneficial. Maybe I’m in my bubble, but Jake’s arguments resonated.

Read his article yourself:
http://jakewestfall.org/blog/index.php/2018/03/12/logistic-regression-is-not-fucked/

Here’s the summary:
Arguments against the use of logistic regression due to problems with “unobserved heterogeneity” proceed from two distinct sets of premises. The first argument points out that if the binary outcome arises from a latent continuous outcome and a threshold, then observed effects also reflect latent heteroskedasticity. This is true, but only relevant in cases where we actually care about an underlying continuous variable, which is not usually the case. The second argument points out that logistic regression coefficients are not collapsible over uncorrelated covariates, and claims that this precludes any substantive interpretation. On the contrary, we can interpret logistic regression coefficients perfectly well in the face of non-collapsibility by thinking clearly about the conditional probabilities they refer to.

# StatQuest: Statistical concepts, clearly explained

Josh Starmer is assistant professor at the genetics department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

But more importantly:
Josh is the mastermind behind StatQuest!

StatQuest is a Youtube channel (and website) dedicated to explaining complex statistical concepts — like data distributions, probability, or novel machine learning algorithms — in simple terms.

Once you watch one of Josh’s “Stat-Quests”, you immediately recognize the effort he put into this project. Using great visuals, a just-about-right pace, and relateable examples, Josh makes statistics accessible to everyone. For instance, take this series on logistic regression:

And do you really know what happens under the hood when you run a principal component analysis? After this video you will:

Or are you more interested in learning the fundamental concepts behind machine learning, then Josh has some videos for you, for instance on bias and variance or gradient descent:

With nearly 200 videos and counting, StatQuest is truly an amazing resource for students ‘and teachers on topics related to statistics and data analytics. For some of the concepts, Josh even posted videos running you through the analysis steps and results interpretation in the R language.

StatQuest started out as an attempt to explain statistics to my co-workers – who are all genetics researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill. They did these amazing experiments, but they didn’t always know what to do with the data they generated. That was my job. But I wanted them to understand that what I do isn’t magic – it’s actually quite simple. It only seems hard because it’s all wrapped up in confusing terminology and typically communicated using equations. I found that if I stripped away the terminology and communicated the concepts using pictures, it became easy to understand.

Over time I made more and more StatQuests and now it’s my passion on YouTube.

Josh Starmer via https://statquest.org/about/

# Must read: Computer Age Statistical Inference (Efron & Hastie, 2016)

Statistics, and statistical inference in specific, are becoming an ever greater part of our daily lives. Models are trying to estimate anything from (future) consumer behaviour to optimal steering behaviours and we need these models to be as accurate as possible. Trevor Hastie is a great contributor to the development of the field, and I highly recommend the machine learning books and courses that he developed, together with Robert Tibshirani. These you may find in my list of R Resources (Cheatsheets, Tutorials, & Books).

Today I wanted to share another book Hastie wrote, together with Bradley Efron, another colleague of his at Stanford University. It is called Computer Age Statistical Inference (Efron & Hastie, 2016) and is a definite must read for every aspiring data scientist because it illustrates most algorithms commonly used in modern-day statistical inference. Many of these algorithms Hastie and his colleagues at Stanford developed themselves and the book handles among others:

• Regression:
• Logistic regression
• Poisson regression
• Ridge regression
• Jackknife regression
• Least angle regression
• Lasso regression
• Regression trees
• Bootstrapping
• Boosting
• Cross-validation
• Random forests
• Survival analysis
• Support vector machines
• Kernel smoothing
• Neural networks
• Deep learning
• Bayesian statistics