Articles on: Data Exploration

How to Deal With Unbalanced Datasets?

Dealing with unbalanced datasets is a common challenge in machine learning. An unbalanced dataset is one where the number of observations in each class is significantly different. For example, in a binary classification problem, if 90% of the observations belong to one class and only 10% belong to the other class, the dataset is unbalanced. In this article, we will discuss several strategies for dealing with unbalanced datasets in machine learning.

An unbalanced data sample

Resampling Techniques

One of the most common ways to deal with unbalanced datasets is to use resampling techniques. Resampling involves either oversampling the minority class or undersampling the majority class to balance the dataset. Oversampling involves replicating some of the observations from the minority class to increase its representation in the dataset. Undersampling involves randomly removing some of the observations from the majority class to decrease its representation in the dataset.

Class Weighting

Another approach to dealing with unbalanced datasets is to use class weighting. In this approach, the weights assigned to the different classes are adjusted so that the model pays more attention to the minority class. The idea is to penalize the model more for misclassifying the minority class, thereby improving its ability to predict the minority class.

Anomaly Detection

In some cases, the minority class in an unbalanced dataset may be considered an anomaly or outlier. In these cases, it may be more appropriate to use anomaly detection techniques rather than classification techniques. Anomaly detection techniques aim to identify observations that are significantly different from the majority of the observations in the dataset. These techniques can be used to flag the minority class as an anomaly, rather than trying to classify it as a regular class.

Ensemble Models

Ensemble methods involve combining multiple models to improve the overall performance of the system. In the context of unbalanced datasets, one common approach is to use a combination of oversampling and undersampling techniques with multiple models. The idea is to create multiple balanced datasets by using different resampling techniques and then train multiple models on these datasets. The final prediction is then made by combining the predictions from all the models.

Updated on: 25/02/2023

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