Technical Blog

Technical and Product News and Insights from Rackspace

How does machine learning work

Originally published in Oct 2018, at

For many people, the terms artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) can cause major confusion in how they’re related. Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term, machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, and deep learning is a subset of machine learning.

The difference between AI, ML, and DL

AI is a machine defined as conscious like in the Turing Test. Machine learning describes a machine that acts without explicit instruction. Deep learning in turn is a machine with deeply emerged multi-layer decision-making aiming to mimic that of a human brain.

On AWS® most services around AI, ML, and DL involve data processing at different levels and through different methods. With artificial intelligence, this occurs around input from the environment which generates some sort of action to be taken and then gives an output.

In machine learning, this process evolves. While there’s still input and action, the output is a prediction. Also, the action consists of feature extraction and classification, which takes a defined component, measures it, and matches it to some sort of criteria that helps label it.

This is the basis around which machine learning operates. For machine learning to work, you must have several samples of inputs and outputs for extraction and classification to help formulate a model. This model can predict an outcome based on the samples processed. The process is iterative and can have tremendous value for big pools of data that need to be analyzed.

Deep learning builds on this even further because it offers scalability that machine learning just doesn’t have. Deep learning has inputs and outputs that are predictions, as well as feature extraction and classification. In deep learning, this process isn’t linear. Instead, feature extraction and classification will re-iterate itself multiple times before coming to a prediction.

Quality Data and its Impact on Machine Learning Success

As previously noted, the main applications for ML and DL in AWS revolve around data. The success of these features is dependent on the integrity and quality of the used data. If your data is not high quality, your model might not have the accuracy necessary to be successful. And if you don’t have the right data to train your model, it won’t magically derive the data you need.

You can ensure that data is good data by following some steps. One feature of good data is labeling. Labeled data offers an indication of the features within the data, as well as potential outcomes of data. In essence, labeling is the context for the model.

Preprocessing is also important for data integrity. By cleaning, formatting, and organizing your data, you can ensure data is accurate and standardized.

Finally, there’s data splitting. Data splitting is the method of training your model. After you define the model’s architecture, you can input the data set, which is split into a training set and a validation set. Iterations with the training set allow the model to learn. Testing the model with the validation set allows you to ensure model accuracy without facing overfitting because you’re using the same data. For best results, AWS recommends that you use 70% of a data set to train a model and 30% to validate.

Learn more about Rackspace Data Services.

Use the Feedback tab to make any comments or ask questions. You can also click Sales Chat to chat now and start the conversation.

post avatar
Matt Charoenrath

Marketing leader experienced in growing brands while scaling and modernizing marketing organizations through a balance of creativity, process & technology to captivate audiences and achieve results.

Share this information: