Classification and Regression

The tasks of classification and regression are concerned with predicting the value of one field from the value of other fields. The target field is called the class (dependent variable in statistical terminology). The other fields are called attributes (independent variables in statistical terminology).

If the class is continuous, the task at hand is called regression. If the class is discrete (it has a finite set of nominal values), the task at hand is called classification. In both cases, a set of data is taken as input, and a model (a pattern or a set of patterns) is generated. This model can then be used to predict values of the class for new data. The common term 'predictive modeling' refers to both classification and regression.

Given a set of data (a table), only a part of it is typically used to generate (induce, learn) a predictive model. This part is referred to as the training set. The remaining part is reserved for evaluating the predictive performance of the learned model and is called the testing set. The testing set is used to estimate the performance of the model on new, unseen data, or in other words, to estimate the validity of the pattern(s) on new data.

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