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Basic Machine Learning Terms You Should Know

By Techopedia Staff
Published: January 3, 2022 | Last updated: February 9, 2022
Key Takeaways

Of these basic ML terms you should know, how many were already familiar? 

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Machine learning (ML), a subtopic of artificial intelligence (AI), is one of the hottest topics in tech today. Find out how well you really know it by taking our quiz, then come back to discover these related terms:

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Want more? Click on the link for a fuller explanation.

1. Unsupervised learning

Unsupervised learning is type of machine learning that relies on clustering algorithms such as K-Means.

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It is a method used to enable machines to classify both tangible and intangible objects without providing the machines any prior information about the objects. The things machines need to classify are varied, such as customer purchasing habits, behavioral patterns of bacteria and hacker attacks.

The main idea behind unsupervised learning is to expose the machines to large volumes of varied data and allow it to learn and infer from the data. However, the machines must first be programmed to learn from data.

2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

A vendor might label software that’s designed to complete discrete workflow tasks programmatically as Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

RPA is a technology that uses software agents (bots) to carry out routine clerical tasks without human assistance. RPA is useful for automating business processes that are rules-based and repetitive.

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3. Deep Learning

Deep learning is an iterative approach to artificial intelligence (AI) that stacks machine learning algorithms in a hierarchy of increasing complexity and abstraction.

The first layer of a deep image recognition algorithm, for example, might focus on learning about color patterns in training data, while the next layer focuses on shapes. Eventually, the hierarchy will have layers that focuses on various combinations of colors and shapes, with the top layer focusing on the actual object being recognized.

4. Linear Regression

Linear regression is a statistical model and supervised machine learning algorithm that uses independent variables to predict the value of a dependent variable.


Linear regression is a kind of statistical analysis that attempts to show a relationship between two variables. Linear regression looks at various data points and plots a trend line. Linear regression can create a predictive model on apparently random data, showing trends in data, such as in cancer diagnoses or in stock prices.

5. Classification

Classification is the process of programmatically identifying and grouping objects or ideas into pre-determined categories.

In machine learning (ML), classification is used in predictive modeling to assign input data with a class label. For example, an email security program tasked with identifying spam might use natural language processing (NLP) to classify emails as being "spam" or "not spam."


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Written by Techopedia Staff

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At Techopedia, we aim to provide insight and inspiration to IT professionals, technology decision-makers and anyone else who is proud to be called a geek. From defining complex tech jargon in our dictionary, to exploring the latest trend in our articles or providing in-depth coverage of a topic in our tutorials, our goal is to help you better understand technology - and, we hope, make better decisions as a result.

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