Naive Bayes

What Does Naive Bayes Mean?

A naive Bayes classifier is an algorithm that uses Bayes' theorem to classify objects. Naive Bayes classifiers assume strong, or naive, independence between attributes of data points. Popular uses of naive Bayes classifiers include spam filters, text analysis and medical diagnosis. These classifiers are widely used for machine learning because they are simple to implement.


Naive Bayes is also known as simple Bayes or independence Bayes.

Techopedia Explains Naive Bayes

A naive Bayes classifier uses probability theory to classify data. Naive Bayes classifier algorithms make use of Bayes' theorem. The key insight of Bayes' theorem is that the probability of an event can be adjusted as new data is introduced.

What makes a naive Bayes classifier naive is its assumption that all attributes of a data point under consideration are independent of each other. A classifier sorting fruits into apples and oranges would know that apples are red, round and are a certain size, but would not assume all these things at once. Oranges are round too, after all.

A naive Bayes classifier is not a single algorithm, but a family of machine learning algorithms that make uses of statistical independence. These algorithms are relatively easy to write and run more efficiently than more complex Bayes algorithms.

The most popular application is spam filters. A spam filter looks at email messages for certain key words and puts them in a spam folder if they match.

Despite the name, the more data it gets, the more accurate a naive Bayes classifier becomes, such as from a user flagging email messages in an inbox for spam.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…