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Difference between Supervised and Unsupervised Learning

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Supervised learning: Supervised learning is the learning of the model where with input variable ( say, x) and an output variable (say, Y) and an algorithm to map the input to the output. That is, Y = f(X) 
Why supervised learning? The basic aim is to approximate the mapping function(mentioned above) so well that when there is a new input data (x) then the corresponding output variable can be predicted. It is called supervised learning because the process of learning(from the training dataset) can be thought of as a teacher who is supervising the entire learning process. Thus, the “learning algorithm” iteratively makes predictions on the training data and is corrected by the “teacher”, and the learning stops when the algorithm achieves an acceptable level of performance(or the desired accuracy). 
Example of Supervised Learning Suppose there is a basket which is filled with some fresh fruits, the task is to arrange the same type of fruits in one place. Also, suppose that the fruits are apple, banana, cherry, grape. Suppose one already knows from their previous work (or experience) that, the shape of each and every fruit present in the basket so, it is easy for them to arrange the same type of fruits in one place. Here, the previous work is called training data in Data Mining terminology. So, it learns things from the training data. This is because it has a response variable that says y that if some fruit has so and so features then it is grape, and similarly for each and every fruit. This type of information is deciphered from the data that is used to train the model. This type of learning is called Supervised Learning. Such problems are listed under classical Classification Tasks.   
Unsupervised Learning: Unsupervised learning is where only the input data (say, X) is present and no corresponding output variable is there. 
Why Unsupervised Learning? The main aim of Unsupervised learning is to model the distribution of the data in order to learn more about the data. It is called so because there is no correct answer and there is no such teacher(unlike supervised learning). Algorithms are left to their own devices to discover and present an interesting structure in the data. 
Example of Unsupervised Learning Again, Suppose there is a basket and it is filled with some fresh fruits. The task is to arrange the same type of fruits in one place. This time there is no information about those fruits beforehand, it’s the first time that the fruits are being seen or discovered So how to group similar fruits without any prior knowledge about those? First, any physical characteristic of a particular fruit is selected. Suppose color. Then the fruits are arranged on the basis of the color. 
The groups will be something as shown below: 
RED COLOR GROUP: apples & cherry fruits. 
GREEN COLOR GROUP: bananas & grapes. So now, take another physical character say, size, so now the groups will be something like this. 
RED COLOR AND SMALL SIZE: cherry fruits. 
GREEN COLOR AND SMALL SIZE: grapes. The job is done! Here, there is no need to know or learn anything beforehand. That means, no train data and no response variable. This type of learning is known as Unsupervised Learning

Difference b/w Supervised and Unsupervised Learning :

The distinction between supervised and unsupervised learning depends on whether the learning algorithm uses pattern-class information. Supervised learning assumes the availability of a teacher or supervisor who classifies the training examples into classes, whereas unsupervised learning must identify the pattern-class information as a part of the learning process.

Supervised learning algorithms utilize the information on the class membership of each training instances. This information allows supervised learning algorithms to detect pattern misclassifications as a feedback to themselves. In unsupervised learning algorithms, unlabeled instances are used. They blindly or heuristically process them. Unsupervised learning algorithms often have less computational complexity and less accuracy than supervised learning algorithms. 

Input Data Uses Known and Labeled Data as input Uses Unknown Data as input
Computational Complexity Less Computational Complexity More Computational Complex
Real Time Uses off-line analysis Uses Real Time Analysis of Data
Number of Classes Number of Classes are known Number of Classes are not known
Accuracy of Results Accurate and Reliable Results Moderate Accurate and Reliable Results
Output data  Desired output is given. Desired output is not given.
Model  In supervised learning it is not possible to learn larger and more complex models than with supervised learning In unsupervised learning it is possible to learn larger and more complex models than  with unsupervised learning
Training data In supervised learning training data is used to infer model  In unsupervised learning training data is not used.
Another name  Supervised learning is also called classification. Unsupervised learning is also called clustering.
Test of model  We can test our model. We can not test our model.
Example   Optical Character Recognition Find a face in an image.
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Last Updated : 19 Jun, 2023
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