Deep Learning vs Machine Learning: What It Is, Techniques, & Key Differences

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Rafael Timbó
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Rafael Timbó
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Chief Technology Officer
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Learn more about these two key players in the AI landscape, how they differ from one another, as well as how they compare.
Published on
August 7, 2023
Updated on
May 3, 2024

Deep learning and machine learning are both drivers of AI innovations like self-driving cars, smart robots, and natural language processing. Although deep learning is a type of machine learning, there are many examples of machine learning that aren't deep learning.

What Is Deep Learning vs Machine Learning

Deep learning is a type of machine learning that uses a hierarchy of layers, called a deep neural network, to learn features from data. These layers are composed of artificial neurons, which are modeled after biological neurons in the human brain in an attempt to mimic a type of human intelligence. These networks are trained using a large dataset and a process called backpropagation, which adjusts the neurons' weights in each layer to minimize the error between the network's predictions and the actual outputs.

Deep learning is particularly useful for tasks that involve image, audio, or text data, such as image recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing, and machine translation. Deep learning models have achieved state-of-the-art results in many of these tasks.

On the other hand, machine learning is a broader field that encompasses many different techniques and algorithms for training models to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed. Some examples of machine learning techniques include decision trees, random forests, k-nearest neighbors, and support vector machines. These techniques can be applied to various problems, such as supervised and unsupervised learning, regression, and classification.

In summary, deep learning is a subfield of machine learning that uses neural networks to automatically learn features from data, particularly useful for tasks involving image, audio, and text data, while machine learning is a broader field that encompasses many different techniques and algorithms for training models to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to do so.

What Are Machine Learning Techniques?

The evolution of machine learning has introduced many machine learning methods, including:

The Basics of Machine Learning

  • Supervised Learning: This type of machine learning involves training a model on labeled data where the correct output is already known. Examples include linear regression, logistic regression, and support vector machines.
  • Unsupervised Learning: This type of machine learning involves training a model on unlabeled data where the correct output is not known. Examples include k-means clustering, principal component analysis, and autoencoders.
  • Reinforcement Learning: This type of machine learning involves training a model to make decisions in an environment where the model receives feedback as rewards or penalties. Examples include Q-learning and SARSA.
  • Decision Trees: A decision tree is a flowchart-like tree structure where an internal node represents a feature (or attribute), the branch represents a decision rule, and each leaf node represents the outcome.
  • Random Forest: A random forest is an ensemble method that combines multiple decision trees to improve the accuracy and stability of the predictions.

The Pros of Machine Learning

Supervised Learning:

  • The model can be trained on labeled data, which makes it easy to evaluate the performance of the model
  • The model can make predictions for new data once it is trained
  • It's easy to understand and interpret the results
  • It can work well with small as well as large datasets

Unsupervised Learning:

  • The model can be trained on unlabeled data, which is often cheaper and easier to obtain
  • The model can find patterns and structure in the data that may not be obvious to humans
  • It can be used for exploratory data analysis and feature extraction

Reinforcement Learning:

  • The model can learn from experience, by interacting with an environment
  • The model can learn to optimize a long-term reward, which is useful for decision-making tasks
  • It can work well with problems that have delayed rewards or a sequence of decisions

Decision Trees:

  • The model is easy to understand and interpret
  • The model is able to handle both categorical and numerical data
  • It can work well with small as well as large datasets

Random Forest:

  • The model is able to handle both categorical and numerical data
  • The model is less prone to overfitting than a single decision tree
  • It can provide an estimate of the feature's importance

The Cons of Machine Learning

Supervised Learning:

  • The model can be prone to overfitting if the model is too complex for the amount of training data
  • The model can be sensitive to the choice of features and preprocessing steps
  • It requires a large amount of labeled data for training

Unsupervised Learning:

  • The model can be difficult to interpret and understand since it is trained on unlabeled data
  • The model can be sensitive to the choice of features and preprocessing steps
  • It can be difficult to evaluate the performance of the model

Reinforcement Learning:

  • The model can be difficult to train due to the complexity of the environment and the long-term rewards
  • The model can be sensitive to the choice of features and preprocessing steps
  • It can be difficult to evaluate the performance of the model

Decision Trees:

  • The model can be prone to overfitting if the tree is grown too deep
  • The model can be sensitive to the choice of features and preprocessing steps
  • It can be difficult to handle missing data

Random Forest:

  • The model can be computationally expensive to train and test
  • The model can be sensitive to the choice of features and preprocessing steps
  • It can be difficult to handle missing data

What Is a Deep Learning Model?

A deep learning model is a type of machine learning model that is composed of multiple layers of artificial neural networks. These layers process and transform the input data, allowing the model to learn increasingly complex data representations. The term "deep" refers to the large number of layers in the network, ranging from a few layers to hundreds or even thousands.

Deep learning models are particularly well-suited for tasks that involve large amounts of complex data, such as image and speech recognition, natural language processing, and computer vision. They are also used for tasks such as generative models and anomaly detection.

Deep learning networks are typically trained using a variant of stochastic gradient descent, an optimization algorithm that updates the model's parameters based on the error between the predicted and actual output. The training process involves feeding the model large amounts of labeled data, adjusting the model's parameters to minimize the error, and repeating the process until the model's performance reaches a satisfactory level.

The Basics of Deep Learning Model

  • Feedforward Neural Networks (FNN): Also known as Multi-layer Perceptrons (MLP), these are the most basic type of deep learning model. They consist of an input layer, one or more hidden layers, and an output layer. The hidden layers are composed of artificial neurons that process and transform the input data, allowing the model to learn increasingly complex representations of the data.
  • Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN): These models are designed to process data that has a grid-like structure, such as images. They use convolutional layers to extract features from the input data and are particularly well-suited for image recognition and computer vision tasks.
  • Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN): These models are designed to process sequential data, such as time series and natural language. They use recurrent layers, which allow information to be passed from one step of the sequence to the next, enabling the model to take into account the context of the input data.
  • Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) Networks: These models are a type of RNN that are designed to handle the problem of vanishing gradients. LSTM networks use a special kind of recurrent layer called a LSTM cell, which can learn to remember or forget information as needed.
  • Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs): These models consist of two neural networks, a generator and a discriminator, that are trained together. The generator learns to create new data samples that are similar to the training data, while the discriminator learns to distinguish between real and generated data. GANs are used for tasks such as image synthesis, style transfer, and anomaly detection.

The Pros of Deep Learning

Feedforward Neural Networks (FNN):

  • They are simple and easy to understand, making them a good starting point for understanding deep learning.
  • They can be used for a wide range of tasks and are not limited to specific types of data.
  • They can be trained using a variety of optimization algorithms, making them highly flexible.

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN):

  • They are particularly well-suited for image and video recognition tasks.
  • The convolutional layers allow the model to learn translation-invariant features, meaning that the model can recognize an object regardless of its location in the image.
  • They can learn hierarchical representations of the data, allowing them to identify increasingly complex patterns in the data.

Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN):

  • They are particularly well-suited for sequential data such as time series and natural language.
  • They can learn from the past context, which enables the model to understand the relationships between different elements of the sequence.
  • They can handle variable-length sequences, which is useful for tasks such as text generation or speech recognition.

Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) Networks:

  • They can handle long-term dependencies in sequential data, a limitation of traditional RNNs.
  • They can be used in various tasks, such as natural language processing, speech recognition, and time series forecasting.

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs):

  • They can generate new, previously unseen examples of data that are similar to the training data.
  • They can be used for tasks such as image synthesis and style transfer.
  • They can also be used for unsupervised learning, where the model learns to identify patterns in the data without the need for labeled data.

The Cons of Deep Learning Model

Feedforward Neural Networks (FNN):

  • They may not be able to handle sequential or time-series data effectively, as they do not have the ability to retain information from previous steps.
  • They may not perform well on tasks that require a model to understand the relationships between different elements of the data.

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN):

  • They require a large amount of data and computational resources to train.
  • They may not be well-suited for tasks that do not involve grid-like data such as audio or text data.

Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN):

  • They can be difficult to train due to the problem of vanishing gradients, which occurs when the gradients of the error with respect to the parameters become very small during the backpropagation.
  • They may not perform well on tasks that do not involve sequential data.

Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) Networks:

  • They can be computationally expensive and require a large amount of data to train.
  • They can be difficult to interpret, as the internal state of the LSTM cell is not directly observable.

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs):

  • They can be difficult to train and may suffer from instability or mode collapse, where the generator produces a limited range of outputs.
  • They may not generalize well to new data, as they are only able to generate examples that are similar to the training data.

What Is a Subset of Machine Learning?

A subset of machine learning refers to a specific category or type of machine learning algorithms that share certain characteristics or are used for similar tasks. Machine learning can be broadly classified into three main categories: supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. Each of these categories can be further divided into multiple subsets of machine learning.

Supervised learning:

  • Regression: used for predicting continuous values
  • Classification: used for predicting discrete values
  • Sequence modeling: used for predicting sequential data

Unsupervised learning:

  • Clustering: used for grouping similar data points together
  • Dimensionality reduction: used for reducing the number of features or dimensions in the data
  • Anomaly detection: used for identifying outliers or unusual data points

Reinforcement learning:

  • Q-learning: used for training agents to make decisions in an environment
  • SARSA: used for training agents to make decisions in an environment
  • Policy gradient: used for training agents to make decisions in an environment

What’s the Difference Between Machine Learning and Deep Learning?

Machine and deep learning artificial intelligence models differ in significant ways, including:

Capabilities and Functions

Machine learning algorithms are capable of performing a wide range of tasks, such as regression, classification, and clustering, while deep learning algorithms are particularly well-suited for tasks that involve image, video, and audio data, and can also be applied to natural language processing and other sequential data.

Human Intervention

Machine learning algorithms often require human intervention in the form of feature engineering, where the input data is transformed and prepared for the model. Deep learning algorithms, on the other hand, can learn features from raw data, often with little or no human intervention.

Amount of Data Needed

Machine learning algorithms can perform well with relatively small amounts of data, while deep learning algorithms often require large amounts of data to train the model effectively.

Coding

Machine learning algorithms can be implemented using a variety of programming languages and libraries, such as Python's scikit-learn, R's caret, while deep learning frameworks are primarily implemented using Python and its libraries such as Tensorflow, Keras, Pytorch.

Machine Learning vs. Deep Learning: Revelo Can Help

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