Kaggle: House Prices competition

The Kaggle playground competition “House Prices” had been good in terms of applying an stacking strategy described in this post before, that you can find in this Git Hub link. It had been used a variety of techniques like Random Forest, GBM, Lasso, Ridge Regression, SVM and XGBoost, not necessarily “weak learners”, an the result was good, this is something to take into account. One of the aspects to highlight is the use of the stacking strategy in this graphic.

An option on STACKING …

A binary classification problem. This is the stacking perspective used:

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 16.09.23

Techniques to use, for example, KNN, Random Forest and SVM.

Cross Validation: 5-fold

Level 0:

Input: Train and test set

For every technique j:

For every fold i:

  • Apply the technique to train set minus fold i and get the model.
  • Train set: Use the model to get a prediction on fold i
  • Test set: Use the model to get prediction on the test set.

Train-stacked set with the j-technique prediction.

Test-stacked set with the i folds prediction average for the j-technique prediction.

Level 1:

Input: Train-stacked set and Test-stacked set

  • Train-stacked set: j columns corresponding to each technique cross-validation predictions, with the j+1 target column.
  • Test-stacked set: j columns corresponding to each model prediction on the test set.

Then use, for example Logistic Regression to train Train-stacked set, and get the final predictions on the Test-stacked set.

Kaggle: Santander Customer Satisfaction – some insigths

Business understanding

From the competition site description:

From frontline support teams to C-suites, customer satisfaction is a key measure of success. Unhappy customers don’t stick around. What’s more, unhappy customers rarely voice their dissatisfaction before leaving.

Santander Bank is asking Kagglers to help them identify dissatisfied customers early in their relationship. Doing so would allow Santander to take proactive steps to improve a customer’s happiness before it’s too late.

In this competition, you’ll work with hundreds of anonymized features to predict if a customer is satisfied or dissatisfied with their banking experience.You are provided with an anonymized dataset containing a large number of numeric variables. The “TARGET” column is the variable to predict. It equals one for unsatisfied customers and 0 for satisfied customers.

The task is to predict the probability that each customer in the test set is an unsatisfied customer.

Some insigths

The data was around 75000 records with 370 features, one more for training, the dependent features called TARGET. Most of data was anonymised and besides from that most of the features have zeros and ones, kind of sparce matrix.

The data was mainly anonymized, and he name of the features made us think that it is an enterprise where Spanish is the base language, like in the case of “saldo” that means balance appear in same of them, and also “amort” that probably means amortization. But besides from that specific set of features most of them were very difficult to identify their meaning. It had been found that some of the features were constants, which were removed from the dataset. Something that showed up was the high correlation we could find in various features, something very unusual when you have a lots of features like in this case. Something that drawn my attention was the fact that this dataset had a very high level of imbalance in the predicted features TARGET.

Because of the variety of features and most of them impossible to identify their meaning, I created some new features that were combinations of existing ones using almost randomly functions like sqrt, log, multiplications and some others, this is a problem when you have mainly anonymized data, because it is not possible to identify some new features if you do not have the meaning of them.

Mainly it had been used XGBoost, something that was amazing was that it could manage this imbalance data very good with come parameter values that I got from the kaggle posts. As a conclusion the main aspect that I learned from this competition is that the problem with imbalance data can be managed with models like XGBoost in a smooth way, and also very happy because this is the second time I am within the 25% of the people who got the highest scores.


Kaggle: Prudential Life Insurance Assesment – Some insights

The highlight of this competition was that the use of ML models with the dataset considering a number of variables originally of factor type, which did not prove to get higher level of accuracy, but when those variables were transformed to ordinal numerical which made a big difference. The use of linear models also drew attention because the predicted values had to be adjusted by cuts in the discrete range of values 1 to 8. In this link can be found some thoughts and analysis.