Encyclopedia – Unsupervised learning

Unsupervised learning

Unsupervised learning studies how systems can learn to represent particular input patterns in a way that reflects the statistical structure of the overall collection of input patterns. By contrast with SUPERVISED LEARNING or REINFORCEMENT LEARNING, there are no explicit target outputs or environmental evaluations associated with each input; rather the unsupervised learner brings to bear prior biases as to what aspects of the structure of the input should be captured in the output.

Unsupervised learning algorithms can perform more complex processing tasks than supervised learning systems. However, unsupervised learning can be more unpredictable than the alternate model. While an unsupervised learning AI system might, for example, figure out on its own how to sort cats from dogs, it might also add unforeseen and undesired categories to deal with unusual breeds, creating clutter instead of order.

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