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Classification of text documents using sparse features in Python Scikit Learn

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Classification is a type of machine learning algorithm in which the model is trained, so as to categorize or label the given input based on the provided features for example classifying the input image as an image of a dog or a cat (binary classification) or to classify the provided picture of a living organism into one of the species from within the animal kingdom (multi-classification). There are various classification models provided in the Scikit Learn library in Python

Classification of text documents using sparse features in Python Scikit Learn

A similar classification problem is to classify the given text or document under a particular label. For this example, the following is a brief about the prerequisites for moving ahead.

Processing Text data as input

The machine does not understand the text data as it is, so it needs to be represented in a way that can be ingested by the classifier as features to predict an output. For that, the given data is to be represented as vectors. To do the same bag-of-words model is followed. The idea is to remove the grammar from the document, break it into simple words and represent the count of each word as a numeric within that vector.


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Bag of words model



The vector results in the formation of the sparse matrix, for a case of multiple documents, we may have many words which have almost no contribution to the prediction of the label but its large repetition is going to create a lot of noise. For this case, considering the words having more repetition within the document have to be given more weightage as compared to words having repetitions all over the dataset. Vectorization using this idea is known as Tf-idf-weighted vectorization.

Classification Models

To represent this problem and to compare the best model for this use case, the following models will be used:

  1. Logistic Regression: Simple classifier using a one-vs-rest scheme for this use case.
  2. Ridge Classifier: Classifier which treats the problem as a regression problem and trains accordingly with {-1,1} labels for binary and multiple no. for non-binary.
  3. K-Neighbors Classifier: Converts to a regression model with K-Neighbors assigned as a label.

Classification problem

Making the model starts by importing the dataset. The dataset used here is the 20 newsgroups text dataset, which comprises around 18,000 newsgroups posts on 20 topics split into two subsets: one for training (or development) and the other one for testing (or for performance evaluation). For the sake of easiness, we will be selecting four categories out of 20.

Once the data is imported, it needs to be vectorized via the bag-of-words model. To vectorize the documents, the Tf-idf vectorization technique is used. The below code shows a glimpse of what the training data may be like after vectorization.


from sklearn.datasets import fetch_20newsgroups
from sklearn.feature_extraction.text import TfidfVectorizer
# Keeping 4 of 20 categories only
categories = [
# importing train and test data
data_train = fetch_20newsgroups(
    remove=("headers", "footers", "quotes"),
data_test = fetch_20newsgroups(
    remove=("headers", "footers", "quotes"),

Converting the data into the numeric form using the Tf-Idf vectorizer.


# initialize vectorizer - keeping the
# range of document frequency [0.5,5]
vectorizer = TfidfVectorizer(
X_train = vectorizer.fit_transform(
y_train =

The transformed data needs to be fitted to the above-mentioned models and then, the evaluation will be performed in the testing dataset later on.


from sklearn.linear_model import LogisticRegression, RidgeClassifier
from sklearn.neighbors import KNeighborsClassifier
from sklearn import metrics
models = {}
# inverse of regularization strength
models['LogisticRegression'] = LogisticRegression(C=5, max_iter=1000)
# gradient descent solver for sparse matrix "sparse_cg"
models['RidgeClassifier'] = RidgeClassifier(alpha=1.0, solver="sparse_cg")
# setting nearest 100 points as 1 label
models['KNeighborsClassifier'] = KNeighborsClassifier(n_neighbors=100)

Let’s train the above-defined model using the data we have prepared above. 


# transforming the test data into existing train data vectorizer
X_test = vectorizer.transform(X_test_raw)
# training models and comparing accuracy
for k, v in models.items():
    print("\n=========Training model with classifier {0}===========".format(k)), y_train)
    pred = v.predict(X_test)
    score = metrics.accuracy_score(y_test, pred)
    print("accuracy after evaluation on test data: {0} %".format(score * 100))


========= Training model with classifier LogisticRegression ===========
Accuracy after evaluation on test data: 75.09211495946941 %

========= Training model with classifier RidgeClassifier ===========
Accuracy after evaluation on test data: 74.57627118644068 %

========= Training model with classifier KNeighborsClassifier ===========
Accuracy after evaluation on test data: 72.88135593220339 %

In the RidgeClassifier case, the training took minimum time and effort because it takes the problem as a simple regression problem, whereas in the case of the LogisticRegression, one vs rest type of classification takes place, which takes more time, as the model gets trained with respect to each class individually one at a time. It takes time but gives better performance because each class is trained individually. In the case of KNN classification, it calculates the distance of each point with respect to the class middle points and thus takes a lot of time.

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Last Updated : 25 Oct, 2022
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