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Concept# Evaluation of binary classifiers

Summary

The evaluation of binary classifiers compares two methods of assigning a binary attribute, one of which is usually a standard method and the other is being investigated. There are many metrics that can be used to measure the performance of a classifier or predictor; different fields have different preferences for specific metrics due to different goals. For example, in medicine sensitivity and specificity are often used, while in computer science precision and recall are preferred. An important distinction is between metrics that are independent on the prevalence (how often each category occurs in the population), and metrics that depend on the prevalence – both types are useful, but they have very different properties.
Probabilistic classification models go beyond providing binary outputs and instead produce probability scores for each class. These models are designed to assess the likelihood or probability of an instance belonging to different classes. In the context of evaluating probabilistic classifiers, alternative evaluation metrics have been developed to properly assess the performance of these models. These metrics take into account the probabilistic nature of the classifier's output and provide a more comprehensive assessment of its effectiveness in assigning accurate probabilities to different classes. These evaluation metrics aim to capture the degree of calibration, discrimination, and overall accuracy of the probabilistic classifier's predictions.
Confusion matrix
Given a data set, a classification (the output of a classifier on that set) gives two numbers: the number of positives and the number of negatives, which add up to the total size of the set. To evaluate a classifier, one compares its output to another reference classification – ideally a perfect classification, but in practice the output of another gold standard test – and cross tabulates the data into a 2×2 contingency table, comparing the two classifications. One then evaluates the classifier relative to the gold standard by computing summary statistics of these 4 numbers.

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Related concepts (2)

F-score

In statistical analysis of binary classification, the F-score or F-measure is a measure of a test's accuracy. It is calculated from the precision and recall of the test, where the precision is the number of true positive results divided by the number of all positive results, including those not identified correctly, and the recall is the number of true positive results divided by the number of all samples that should have been identified as positive.

Precision and recall

In pattern recognition, information retrieval, object detection and classification (machine learning), precision and recall are performance metrics that apply to data retrieved from a collection, corpus or sample space. Precision (also called positive predictive value) is the fraction of relevant instances among the retrieved instances. Written as a formula:. Recall (also known as sensitivity) is the fraction of relevant instances that were retrieved. Written as a formula: . Both precision and recall are therefore based on relevance.

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