HomeMachine Learning & AIHow to Choose the Right Loss Function for Regression

How to Choose the Right Loss Function for Regression

No definite process is present to train a neural network. With every model serving different functions using multiple data sets, the same instance cannot always produce high-performing models. It is crucial to pick the right loss function for effective regression.

Delve deeper into this article to understand the key considerations while choosing the same. 

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Model Type

You should always pick your loss function according to your training model. For instance, certain neural networks might require a loss function machine learning model supporting backpropagation. In that case, it needs to be differentiable. 

Problem Category

The problem category should also influence the choice of your loss functions. For instance, a regression model will need the mean squared error when no extra information about the data set is present.

Similarly, the mean squared logarithmic error is useful when all the target values are positive and contain a long tail distribution. On the other hand, the Pseudo-Huber loss might be useful for stopping the model from fitting outliers over regular data. 

Computational Efficiency

The computational ease of loss functions is an important consideration, particularly in the case of large data sets. Usually, it’s recommended to pick the simplest function in the initial stage. If the simplest loss function is inadequate, you can move to something more complicated. 

Remember that computational complexity will mean extra time resources, and increased difficulty in understanding. Therefore, choosing the simplest loss function will prevent unnecessary computational power consumption. 

Performance Metric

The best way to pick loss functions is to consider the performance metric you plan to optimize. Maybe you are optimizing the regression model in terms of accuracy. In that case, you will have to pick loss functions for penalizing inaccurate predictions heavily. 

Data Distribution

The appropriateness of the loss functions for regression will also depend on the distribution pattern of your data. At times, you need to work with highly imbalanced data. In that case, you must opt for loss functions capable of handling the class imbalance. 

Output Units

loss function

Source: Pixabay

You also need to match the loss functions to the output unit. Remember that some processes are better at certain tasks than others. You must look at the output unit to determine which loss suits it. 

Wrapping up

The above factors will help you find a legitimate loss function for your ML problem. Common loss functions include cross-entropy, mean squared error, log loss, and hinge loss. After picking the loss function machine learning, you must also assess the model’s performance to make necessary adjustments. 


What do you understand about loss functions for regression?
The different loss functions for regression focus on determining whether a specific ML model matches the data set. The different types of it can estimate the prediction error differently. 

When can I specify the loss function?
You can choose the loss function regression model while creating the data frame analytics. By default, it is a mean squared error. 

How can choosing the wrong loss function affect the optimizer?
The loss function regression helps calculate the distance between target variables and the output. This distance determines how a neural network will learn. Using the wrong way can limit the effectiveness of the optimizer. 

Upgrad Team
Upgrad Teamhttps://www.upgrad.com/us/blog
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