File: faq.rst

package info (click to toggle)
scikit-learn 0.23.2-5
  • links: PTS, VCS
  • area: main
  • in suites: bookworm, bullseye, sid
  • size: 21,892 kB
  • sloc: python: 132,020; cpp: 5,765; javascript: 2,201; ansic: 831; makefile: 213; sh: 44
file content (413 lines) | stat: -rw-r--r-- 19,872 bytes parent folder | download
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
206
207
208
209
210
211
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
233
234
235
236
237
238
239
240
241
242
243
244
245
246
247
248
249
250
251
252
253
254
255
256
257
258
259
260
261
262
263
264
265
266
267
268
269
270
271
272
273
274
275
276
277
278
279
280
281
282
283
284
285
286
287
288
289
290
291
292
293
294
295
296
297
298
299
300
301
302
303
304
305
306
307
308
309
310
311
312
313
314
315
316
317
318
319
320
321
322
323
324
325
326
327
328
329
330
331
332
333
334
335
336
337
338
339
340
341
342
343
344
345
346
347
348
349
350
351
352
353
354
355
356
357
358
359
360
361
362
363
364
365
366
367
368
369
370
371
372
373
374
375
376
377
378
379
380
381
382
383
384
385
386
387
388
389
390
391
392
393
394
395
396
397
398
399
400
401
402
403
404
405
406
407
408
409
410
411
412
413
.. _faq:

===========================
Frequently Asked Questions
===========================

.. currentmodule:: sklearn

Here we try to give some answers to questions that regularly pop up on the mailing list.

What is the project name (a lot of people get it wrong)?
--------------------------------------------------------
scikit-learn, but not scikit or SciKit nor sci-kit learn.
Also not scikits.learn or scikits-learn, which were previously used.

How do you pronounce the project name?
------------------------------------------
sy-kit learn. sci stands for science!

Why scikit?
------------
There are multiple scikits, which are scientific toolboxes built around SciPy.
You can find a list at `<https://scikits.appspot.com/scikits>`_.
Apart from scikit-learn, another popular one is `scikit-image <https://scikit-image.org/>`_.

How can I contribute to scikit-learn?
-----------------------------------------
See :ref:`contributing`. Before wanting to add a new algorithm, which is
usually a major and lengthy undertaking, it is recommended to start with
:ref:`known issues <new_contributors>`. Please do not contact the contributors
of scikit-learn directly regarding contributing to scikit-learn.

What's the best way to get help on scikit-learn usage?
--------------------------------------------------------------
**For general machine learning questions**, please use
`Cross Validated <https://stats.stackexchange.com/>`_ with the ``[machine-learning]`` tag.

**For scikit-learn usage questions**, please use `Stack Overflow <https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/scikit-learn>`_
with the ``[scikit-learn]`` and ``[python]`` tags. You can alternatively use the `mailing list
<https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/scikit-learn>`_.

Please make sure to include a minimal reproduction code snippet (ideally shorter
than 10 lines) that highlights your problem on a toy dataset (for instance from
``sklearn.datasets`` or randomly generated with functions of ``numpy.random`` with
a fixed random seed). Please remove any line of code that is not necessary to
reproduce your problem.

The problem should be reproducible by simply copy-pasting your code snippet in a Python
shell with scikit-learn installed. Do not forget to include the import statements.

More guidance to write good reproduction code snippets can be found at:

https://stackoverflow.com/help/mcve

If your problem raises an exception that you do not understand (even after googling it),
please make sure to include the full traceback that you obtain when running the
reproduction script.

For bug reports or feature requests, please make use of the
`issue tracker on GitHub <https://github.com/scikit-learn/scikit-learn/issues>`_.

There is also a `scikit-learn Gitter channel
<https://gitter.im/scikit-learn/scikit-learn>`_ where some users and developers
might be found.

**Please do not email any authors directly to ask for assistance, report bugs,
or for any other issue related to scikit-learn.**

How should I save, export or deploy estimators for production?
--------------------------------------------------------------

See :ref:`model_persistence`.

How can I create a bunch object?
------------------------------------------------

Bunch objects are sometimes used as an output for functions and methods. They
extend dictionaries by enabling values to be accessed by key,
`bunch["value_key"]`, or by an attribute, `bunch.value_key`.

They should not be used as an input; therefore you almost never need to create
a ``Bunch`` object, unless you are extending the scikit-learn's API.

How can I load my own datasets into a format usable by scikit-learn?
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Generally, scikit-learn works on any numeric data stored as numpy arrays
or scipy sparse matrices. Other types that are convertible to numeric
arrays such as pandas DataFrame are also acceptable.

For more information on loading your data files into these usable data
structures, please refer to :ref:`loading external datasets <external_datasets>`.

.. _new_algorithms_inclusion_criteria:

What are the inclusion criteria for new algorithms ?
----------------------------------------------------

We only consider well-established algorithms for inclusion. A rule of thumb is
at least 3 years since publication, 200+ citations, and wide use and
usefulness. A technique that provides a clear-cut improvement (e.g. an
enhanced data structure or a more efficient approximation technique) on
a widely-used method will also be considered for inclusion.

From the algorithms or techniques that meet the above criteria, only those
which fit well within the current API of scikit-learn, that is a ``fit``,
``predict/transform`` interface and ordinarily having input/output that is a
numpy array or sparse matrix, are accepted.

The contributor should support the importance of the proposed addition with
research papers and/or implementations in other similar packages, demonstrate
its usefulness via common use-cases/applications and corroborate performance
improvements, if any, with benchmarks and/or plots. It is expected that the
proposed algorithm should outperform the methods that are already implemented
in scikit-learn at least in some areas.

Inclusion of a new algorithm speeding up an existing model is easier if:

- it does not introduce new hyper-parameters (as it makes the library
  more future-proof),
- it is easy to document clearly when the contribution improves the speed
  and when it does not, for instance "when n_features >>
  n_samples",
- benchmarks clearly show a speed up.

Also, note that your implementation need not be in scikit-learn to be used
together with scikit-learn tools. You can implement your favorite algorithm
in a scikit-learn compatible way, upload it to GitHub and let us know. We
will be happy to list it under :ref:`related_projects`. If you already have
a package on GitHub following the scikit-learn API, you may also be
interested to look at `scikit-learn-contrib
<https://scikit-learn-contrib.github.io>`_.

.. _selectiveness:

Why are you so selective on what algorithms you include in scikit-learn?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Code comes with maintenance cost, and we need to balance the amount of
code we have with the size of the team (and add to this the fact that
complexity scales non linearly with the number of features).
The package relies on core developers using their free time to
fix bugs, maintain code and review contributions.
Any algorithm that is added needs future attention by the developers,
at which point the original author might long have lost interest.
See also :ref:`new_algorithms_inclusion_criteria`. For a great read about
long-term maintenance issues in open-source software, look at
`the Executive Summary of Roads and Bridges
<https://www.fordfoundation.org/media/2976/roads-and-bridges-the-unseen-labor-behind-our-digital-infrastructure.pdf#page=8>`_

Why did you remove HMMs from scikit-learn?
--------------------------------------------
See :ref:`adding_graphical_models`.

.. _adding_graphical_models:

Will you add graphical models or sequence prediction to scikit-learn?
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Not in the foreseeable future.
scikit-learn tries to provide a unified API for the basic tasks in machine
learning, with pipelines and meta-algorithms like grid search to tie
everything together. The required concepts, APIs, algorithms and
expertise required for structured learning are different from what
scikit-learn has to offer. If we started doing arbitrary structured
learning, we'd need to redesign the whole package and the project
would likely collapse under its own weight.

There are two project with API similar to scikit-learn that
do structured prediction:

* `pystruct <https://pystruct.github.io/>`_ handles general structured
  learning (focuses on SSVMs on arbitrary graph structures with
  approximate inference; defines the notion of sample as an instance of
  the graph structure)

* `seqlearn <https://larsmans.github.io/seqlearn/>`_ handles sequences only
  (focuses on exact inference; has HMMs, but mostly for the sake of
  completeness; treats a feature vector as a sample and uses an offset encoding
  for the dependencies between feature vectors)

Will you add GPU support?
-------------------------

No, or at least not in the near future. The main reason is that GPU support
will introduce many software dependencies and introduce platform specific
issues. scikit-learn is designed to be easy to install on a wide variety of
platforms. Outside of neural networks, GPUs don't play a large role in machine
learning today, and much larger gains in speed can often be achieved by a
careful choice of algorithms.

Do you support PyPy?
--------------------

In case you didn't know, `PyPy <https://pypy.org/>`_ is an alternative
Python implementation with a built-in just-in-time compiler. Experimental
support for PyPy3-v5.10+ has been added, which requires Numpy 1.14.0+,
and scipy 1.1.0+.

How do I deal with string data (or trees, graphs...)?
-----------------------------------------------------

scikit-learn estimators assume you'll feed them real-valued feature vectors.
This assumption is hard-coded in pretty much all of the library.
However, you can feed non-numerical inputs to estimators in several ways.

If you have text documents, you can use a term frequency features; see
:ref:`text_feature_extraction` for the built-in *text vectorizers*.
For more general feature extraction from any kind of data, see
:ref:`dict_feature_extraction` and :ref:`feature_hashing`.

Another common case is when you have non-numerical data and a custom distance
(or similarity) metric on these data. Examples include strings with edit
distance (aka. Levenshtein distance; e.g., DNA or RNA sequences). These can be
encoded as numbers, but doing so is painful and error-prone. Working with
distance metrics on arbitrary data can be done in two ways.

Firstly, many estimators take precomputed distance/similarity matrices, so if
the dataset is not too large, you can compute distances for all pairs of inputs.
If the dataset is large, you can use feature vectors with only one "feature",
which is an index into a separate data structure, and supply a custom metric
function that looks up the actual data in this data structure. E.g., to use
DBSCAN with Levenshtein distances::

    >>> from leven import levenshtein       # doctest: +SKIP
    >>> import numpy as np
    >>> from sklearn.cluster import dbscan
    >>> data = ["ACCTCCTAGAAG", "ACCTACTAGAAGTT", "GAATATTAGGCCGA"]
    >>> def lev_metric(x, y):
    ...     i, j = int(x[0]), int(y[0])     # extract indices
    ...     return levenshtein(data[i], data[j])
    ...
    >>> X = np.arange(len(data)).reshape(-1, 1)
    >>> X
    array([[0],
           [1],
           [2]])
    >>> # We need to specify algoritum='brute' as the default assumes
    >>> # a continuous feature space.
    >>> dbscan(X, metric=lev_metric, eps=5, min_samples=2, algorithm='brute')
    ... # doctest: +SKIP
    ([0, 1], array([ 0,  0, -1]))

(This uses the third-party edit distance package ``leven``.)

Similar tricks can be used, with some care, for tree kernels, graph kernels,
etc.

Why do I sometime get a crash/freeze with n_jobs > 1 under OSX or Linux?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Several scikit-learn tools such as ``GridSearchCV`` and ``cross_val_score``
rely internally on Python's `multiprocessing` module to parallelize execution
onto several Python processes by passing ``n_jobs > 1`` as an argument.

The problem is that Python ``multiprocessing`` does a ``fork`` system call
without following it with an ``exec`` system call for performance reasons. Many
libraries like (some versions of) Accelerate / vecLib under OSX, (some versions
of) MKL, the OpenMP runtime of GCC, nvidia's Cuda (and probably many others),
manage their own internal thread pool. Upon a call to `fork`, the thread pool
state in the child process is corrupted: the thread pool believes it has many
threads while only the main thread state has been forked. It is possible to
change the libraries to make them detect when a fork happens and reinitialize
the thread pool in that case: we did that for OpenBLAS (merged upstream in
master since 0.2.10) and we contributed a `patch
<https://gcc.gnu.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=60035>`_ to GCC's OpenMP runtime
(not yet reviewed).

But in the end the real culprit is Python's ``multiprocessing`` that does
``fork`` without ``exec`` to reduce the overhead of starting and using new
Python processes for parallel computing. Unfortunately this is a violation of
the POSIX standard and therefore some software editors like Apple refuse to
consider the lack of fork-safety in Accelerate / vecLib as a bug.

In Python 3.4+ it is now possible to configure ``multiprocessing`` to
use the 'forkserver' or 'spawn' start methods (instead of the default
'fork') to manage the process pools. To work around this issue when
using scikit-learn, you can set the ``JOBLIB_START_METHOD`` environment
variable to 'forkserver'. However the user should be aware that using
the 'forkserver' method prevents joblib.Parallel to call function
interactively defined in a shell session.

If you have custom code that uses ``multiprocessing`` directly instead of using
it via joblib you can enable the 'forkserver' mode globally for your
program: Insert the following instructions in your main script::

    import multiprocessing

    # other imports, custom code, load data, define model...

    if __name__ == '__main__':
        multiprocessing.set_start_method('forkserver')

        # call scikit-learn utils with n_jobs > 1 here

You can find more default on the new start methods in the `multiprocessing
documentation <https://docs.python.org/3/library/multiprocessing.html#contexts-and-start-methods>`_.

.. _faq_mkl_threading:

Why does my job use more cores than specified with n_jobs?
----------------------------------------------------------

This is because ``n_jobs`` only controls the number of jobs for
routines that are parallelized with ``joblib``, but parallel code can come
from other sources:

- some routines may be parallelized with OpenMP (for code written in C or
  Cython).
- scikit-learn relies a lot on numpy, which in turn may rely on numerical
  libraries like MKL, OpenBLAS or BLIS which can provide parallel
  implementations.

For more details, please refer to our :ref:`Parallelism notes <parallelism>`.


Why is there no support for deep or reinforcement learning / Will there be support for deep or reinforcement learning in scikit-learn?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Deep learning and reinforcement learning both require a rich vocabulary to
define an architecture, with deep learning additionally requiring
GPUs for efficient computing. However, neither of these fit within
the design constraints of scikit-learn; as a result, deep learning
and reinforcement learning are currently out of scope for what
scikit-learn seeks to achieve.

You can find more information about addition of gpu support at
`Will you add GPU support?`_.

Note that scikit-learn currently implements a simple multilayer perceptron
in `sklearn.neural_network`. We will only accept bug fixes for this module.
If you want to implement more complex deep learning models, please turn to
popular deep learning frameworks such as
`tensorflow <https://www.tensorflow.org/>`_,
`keras <https://keras.io/>`_
and `pytorch <https://pytorch.org/>`_.

Why is my pull request not getting any attention?
-------------------------------------------------

The scikit-learn review process takes a significant amount of time, and
contributors should not be discouraged by a lack of activity or review on
their pull request. We care a lot about getting things right
the first time, as maintenance and later change comes at a high cost.
We rarely release any "experimental" code, so all of our contributions
will be subject to high use immediately and should be of the highest
quality possible initially.

Beyond that, scikit-learn is limited in its reviewing bandwidth; many of the
reviewers and core developers are working on scikit-learn on their own time.
If a review of your pull request comes slowly, it is likely because the
reviewers are busy. We ask for your understanding and request that you
not close your pull request or discontinue your work solely because of
this reason.

How do I set a ``random_state`` for an entire execution?
---------------------------------------------------------

For testing and replicability, it is often important to have the entire execution
controlled by a single seed for the pseudo-random number generator used in
algorithms that have a randomized component. Scikit-learn does not use its own
global random state; whenever a RandomState instance or an integer random seed
is not provided as an argument, it relies on the numpy global random state,
which can be set using :func:`numpy.random.seed`.
For example, to set an execution's numpy global random state to 42, one could
execute the following in his or her script::

    import numpy as np
    np.random.seed(42)

However, a global random state is prone to modification by other code during
execution. Thus, the only way to ensure replicability is to pass ``RandomState``
instances everywhere and ensure that both estimators and cross-validation
splitters have their ``random_state`` parameter set.

Why do categorical variables need preprocessing in scikit-learn, compared to other tools?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Most of scikit-learn assumes data is in NumPy arrays or SciPy sparse matrices
of a single numeric dtype. These do not explicitly represent categorical
variables at present. Thus, unlike R's data.frames or pandas.DataFrame, we
require explicit conversion of categorical features to numeric values, as
discussed in :ref:`preprocessing_categorical_features`.
See also :ref:`sphx_glr_auto_examples_compose_plot_column_transformer_mixed_types.py` for an
example of working with heterogeneous (e.g. categorical and numeric) data.

Why does Scikit-learn not directly work with, for example, pandas.DataFrame?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The homogeneous NumPy and SciPy data objects currently expected are most
efficient to process for most operations. Extensive work would also be needed
to support Pandas categorical types. Restricting input to homogeneous
types therefore reduces maintenance cost and encourages usage of efficient
data structures.

Do you plan to implement transform for target y in a pipeline?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Currently transform only works for features X in a pipeline. 
There's a long-standing discussion about 
not being able to transform y in a pipeline.
Follow on github issue
`#4143 <https://github.com/scikit-learn/scikit-learn/issues/4143>`_.
Meanwhile check out
:class:`sklearn.compose.TransformedTargetRegressor`,
`pipegraph <https://github.com/mcasl/PipeGraph>`_,
`imbalanced-learn <https://github.com/scikit-learn-contrib/imbalanced-learn>`_.
Note that Scikit-learn solved for the case where y 
has an invertible transformation applied before training 
and inverted after prediction. Scikit-learn intends to solve for
use cases where y should be transformed at training time 
and not at test time, for resampling and similar uses, 
like at imbalanced learn. 
In general, these use cases can be solved 
with a custom meta estimator rather than a Pipeline