Concept

Loss function

Summary
In mathematical optimization and decision theory, a loss function or cost function (sometimes also called an error function) is a function that maps an event or values of one or more variables onto a real number intuitively representing some "cost" associated with the event. An optimization problem seeks to minimize a loss function. An objective function is either a loss function or its opposite (in specific domains, variously called a reward function, a profit function, a utility function, a fitness function, etc.), in which case it is to be maximized. The loss function could include terms from several levels of the hierarchy. In statistics, typically a loss function is used for parameter estimation, and the event in question is some function of the difference between estimated and true values for an instance of data. The concept, as old as Laplace, was reintroduced in statistics by Abraham Wald in the middle of the 20th century. In the context of economics, for example, this is
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