# MAXIMUM LIKELIHOOD AND LEAST-SQUARED ERROR HYPOTHESES in Software Print QR Code 2d barcode in Software MAXIMUM LIKELIHOOD AND LEAST-SQUARED ERROR HYPOTHESES

64 MAXIMUM LIKELIHOOD AND LEAST-SQUARED ERROR HYPOTHESES
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As illustrated in the above section, Bayesian analysis can sometimes be used to show that a particular learning algorithm outputs MAP hypotheses even though it may not explicitly use Bayes rule or calculate probabilities in any form In this section we consider the problem of learning a continuous-valued target function-a problem faced by many learning approaches such as neural network learning, linear regression, and polynomial curve fitting A straightforward Bayesian analysis will show that under certain assumptions any learning algorithm that minimizes the squared error between the output hypothesis predictions and the training data will output a maximum likelihood hypothesis The significance of this result is that it provides a Bayesian justification (under certain assumptions) for many neural network and other curve fitting methods that attempt to minimize the sum of squared errors over the training data Consider the following problem setting Learner L considers an instance space X and a hypothesis space H consisting of some class of real-valued functions defined over X (ie, each h in H is a function of the form h : X -+ 8, where 8 represents the set of real numbers) The problem faced by L is to learn an unknown target function f : X -+ 8 drawn from H A set of m training examples is provided, where the target value of each example is corrupted by random noise drawn according to a Normal probability distribution More precisely, each training example is a pair of the form (xi,d i ) where di = f (xi) ei Here f (xi)is the noise-free value of the target function and ei is a random variable representing the noise It is assumed that the values of the ei are drawn independently and that they are distributed according to a Normal distribution with zero mean The task of the learner is to output a maximum likelihood hypothesis, or, equivalently, a MAP hypothesis assuming all hypotheses are equally probable a priori A simple example of such a problem is learning a linear function, though our analysis applies to learning arbitrary real-valued functions Figure 62 illustrates
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FIGURE 62 Learning a real-valued function The target function f corresponds to the solid line The training examples (xi, ) are assumed di to have Normally distributed noise ei with zero mean added to the true target value f (xi) The dashed line corresponds to the linear function that minimizes the sum of squared errors Therefore, it is the maximum likelihood hypothesis ~ M L given these five , training examples
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CHAPTER 6 BAYESIAN LEARNING
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a linear target function f depicted by the solid line, and a set of noisy training examples of this target function The dashed line corresponds to the hypothesis hML with least-squared training error, hence the maximum likelihood hypothesis Notice that the maximum likelihood hypothesis is not necessarily identical to the correct hypothesis, f , because it is inferred from only a limited sample of noisy training data Before showing why a hypothesis that minimizes the sum of squared errors in this setting is also a maximum likelihood hypothesis, let us quickly review two basic concepts from probability theory: probability densities and Normal distributions First, in order to discuss probabilities over continuous variables such as e, we must introduce probability densities The reason, roughly, is that we wish for the total probability over all possible values of the random variable to sum to one In the case of continuous variables we cannot achieve this by assigning a finite probability to each of the infinite set of possible values for the random variable Instead, we speak of a probability density for continuous variables such as e and require that the integral of this probability density over all possible values be one In general we will use lower case p to refer to the probability density function, to distinguish it from a finite probability P (which we will sometimes refer to as a probability mass) The probability density p(x0) is the limit as E goes to zero, of times the probability that x will take on a value in the interval [xo,xo + 6 )
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Probability density function:
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Second, we stated that the random noise variable e is generated by a Normal probability distribution A Normal distribution is a smooth, bell-shaped distribution that can be completely characterized by its mean p and its standard deviation a See Table 54 for a precise definition Given this background we now return to the main issue: showing that the least-squared error hypothesis is, in fact, the maximum likelihood hypothesis within our problem setting We will show this by deriving the maximum likelihood hypothesis starting with our earlier definition Equation (63), but using lower case p to refer to the probability density
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As before, we assume a fixed set of training instances (xl xm) and therefore consider the data D to be the corresponding sequence of target values D = (dl d m ) Here di = f ( x i ) + ei Assuming the training examples are mutually independent given h , we can write P ( D J h )as the product of the various ~ ( dlh) i
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Given that the noise ei obeys a Normal distribution with zero mean and unknown variance a 2 , each di must also obey a Normal distribution with variance a2 centered around the true target value f ( x i ) rather than zero Therefore p(di lh) can be written as a Normal distribution with variance a2 and mean p = f ( x i ) Let us write the formula for this Normal distribution to describe p(di Ih), beginning with the general formula for a Normal distribution from Table 54 and substituting the appropriate p and a 2 Because we are writing the expression for the probability of di given that h is the correct description of the target function f , we will also substitute p = f ( x i ) = h(xi), yielding
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