What is inductive bias in machine learning?


In machine learning, inductive bias refers to the assumptions or preconceptions that a model or algorithm makes about the underlying distribution of data.

These biases can influence the model’s ability to learn from a given dataset and can affect the performance of the model on new, unseen data. A model with too strong of an inductive bias may fail to capture the complexity of the underlying data, while a model with too weak of an inductive bias may overfit the training data.

There are several ways to describe the inductive bias of a model, including:

  • the choice of model architecture
  • the selection of features
  • the type of regularization applied to the model.

It is important to consider the inductive bias of a model when selecting or designing a machine learning algorithm, because it can have a significant impact on the model’s performance. For example, a linear regression model has an inductive bias towards linear relationships between variables, while a decision tree has an inductive bias towards creating simple, hierarchical partitions of the data.

In practice, machine learning practitioners often use a combination of model architectures with different inductive biases, and use techniques such as cross-validation and regularization to mitigate the impact of inductive bias on model performance.

The inductive bias of a model is a trade-off between its ability to fit the training data and its ability to generalize to new examples. Finding the right balance is an important aspect of machine learning and requires careful consideration of the problem, the data and the model.

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Dr. Tehseen Zia
Tenured Associate Professor

Dr. Tehseen Zia has Doctorate and more than 10 years of post-Doctorate research experience in Artificial Intelligence (AI). He is Tenured Associate Professor and leads AI research at Comsats University Islamabad, and co-principle investigator in National Center of Artificial Intelligence Pakistan. In the past, he has worked as research consultant on European Union funded AI project Dream4cars.