What are overfitting and underfitting in machine learning?

Machine Learning

Have you ever experienced the frustration of creating a machine learning model that performs perfectly on your training data, but fails miserably when presented with new data? This is a common problem in the world of AI and it’s known as overfitting. On the other hand, have you ever wondered why your algorithm simply can’t capture any meaningful patterns in your dataset? That’s underfitting! In this blog post, we will explore what overfitting and underfitting are in machine learning and how to avoid them. So buckle up – let’s dive into the world of ML!

What are overfitting and underfitting in machine learning?

Overfitting and underfitting can occur when a machine learning algorithm inaccurately predicts the performance of a model on data that the algorithm was not intended to learn from. Overfitting occurs when the model generalizes too much from the training data. Underfitting occurs when the model doesn’t generalize well enough.

Both overfitting and underfitting can lead to inaccurate predictions, as well as models that are difficult to tune or improve. It’s important to understand what happens and why in order to avoid it in your models.

Overfitting can occur if a model is using too many features or combinations of features for a specific dataset. This can make the model more likely to find patterns in the data that don’t exist, leading to incorrect predictions. Underfitting can also occur if a model isn’t using enough features or combinations of features, leading to a model that doesn’t understand the underlying structure of the data.

Both overfitting and underfitting are caused by two distinct factors:

  • The excessive utilization of information or the inadequate use of information. If you have too much information, your machine-learning algorithms will be able to find patterns in your data that don’t actually exist.
  • Insufficient information can lead to a situation where your machine learning algorithms may struggle to identify any patterns in your data, ultimately resulting in inaccurate predictions.

Why does overfitting occur in machine learning?

Overfitting arises when a machine learning model becomes overly specialized, hindering its ability to accurately predict future data. This situation can occur when you cannot automatically adjust the model’s parameters as it learns from the data. As a result, the model becomes brittle and fails to generalize well to new data. Underfitting occurs when a machine learning model becomes too generalized to predict future data accurately. This happens when the model’s parameters aren’t automatically adjusted as it learns from the data. Consequently, the model fails to capture the nuances in the data, which are essential for predicting future outcomes.

How can we avoid overfitting in our models?

Overfitting and underfitting are two common problems in machine learning. Overfitting is when the model becomes so good at predicting the training data that it can no longer generalize to new data. Underfitting is when the model doesn’t learn well enough to make accurate predictions.

There are a few things you can do to avoid overfitting your models:

  • Choose a valid dataset: And make sure your dataset is representative of the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • Don’t use too much data: If your dataset has too many samples, your model will be less likely to generalize to new data.
  • Try different architectures: A model with a more complex architecture will be better at generalizing than a model with just one layer.
  • Be careful with hyperparameters: Too many hyperparameters can lead to overfitting.
  • Try Random Forest or boosting algorithms: These models are usually less prone to overfitting than other machine learning models.

There are also some things you can do if your model is underfitting:

  • Refine the parameters: And tweak the parameters of your model until it’s performing better on new data.
  • Use a different algorithm: Try using a different algorithm, like Naive Bayes, if your machine learning model isn’t performing as well as you would hope.
  • Use custom kernels: Custom kernels allow you to tune specific aspects of your machine-learning model without needing access to all of its hyperparameters

What is underfitting and how can you avoid it?

Underfitting refers to the situation where the model does not understand the data well enough to generalize correctly. You can use insufficient data to train the model or data not aligning with the model’s intended learning can cause this.

One way to avoid underfitting is to use more data in training the model. Another way is to use a more varied set of examples in order to train the model on a wider range of cases. If you do find that your machine learning model is underfitting, it may be helpful to try different algorithms or tweak the parameters of your model.


In this article, we will be discussing the concept of overfitting and underfitting in machine learning. By understanding overfitting and underfitting, you will be able to better assess how your newly trained models are performing in practice. Overfitting arises when a model excels on training data despite inadequate design. You can typically avoid due to its tendency to result in unreliable predictions. Underfitting, meanwhile, refers to a situation where a model does not perform well on testing data even though it was fairly accurate on the training set. This usually happens when the model is overly simple or does not take into account common variation across a dataset. By understanding these concepts, you can make better use of machine learning models and avoid making costly mistakes.

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