Which Type of Machine Learning Is Best for Labelled Data?


Heather Bennett

Machine learning is a rapidly evolving field that has revolutionized various industries. One of the key components of machine learning is labelled data, which plays a crucial role in training accurate models.

Labelled data refers to data points that are associated with predefined labels or categories. These labels serve as the ground truth for the machine learning algorithms to learn from and make predictions.

Supervised Learning

Supervised learning is a type of machine learning where the model learns from labelled data to make predictions or decisions. In this approach, each input data point is associated with a corresponding output label. Supervised learning algorithms can be further divided into classification and regression tasks based on the nature of the output variable.


In classification tasks, the goal is to predict a discrete class label for each input data point. Common algorithms used for classification include decision trees, random forests, support vector machines (SVM), and neural networks. These algorithms leverage labelled data to learn patterns and create decision boundaries that can accurately classify unseen data points.


In regression tasks, the goal is to predict a continuous numerical value based on input features. Some popular regression algorithms include linear regression, polynomial regression, support vector regression (SVR), and neural networks. These algorithms utilize labelled data to learn the relationship between input features and output variables, enabling them to make accurate predictions on new instances.

Unsupervised Learning

In contrast to supervised learning, unsupervised learning deals with unlabelled data. Unsupervised learning algorithms aim to discover patterns or structures within the dataset without any predefined labels guiding them.


Clustering is a common unsupervised learning technique that groups similar instances together based on their similarity or proximity in feature space. Algorithms such as k-means clustering, hierarchical clustering, and density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) are commonly used for clustering tasks. These algorithms help in identifying hidden patterns or groups within unlabelled data.

Dimensionality Reduction

Dimensionality reduction techniques are another type of unsupervised learning that aim to reduce the number of input features while retaining the most important information. Principal Component Analysis (PCA), t-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding (t-SNE), and Autoencoders are popular dimensionality reduction algorithms. These techniques can be useful in visualizing high-dimensional data or reducing computational complexity.

Semi-supervised Learning

Semi-supervised learning is a hybrid approach that combines both labelled and unlabelled data. This technique leverages a small amount of labelled data along with a large pool of unlabelled data to improve the model’s performance. Semi-supervised learning algorithms can be particularly useful when obtaining labelled data is expensive or time-consuming.


Choosing the best machine learning technique for labelled data depends on the specific problem at hand. If you have access to a large amount of labelled data, supervised learning algorithms such as classification and regression can provide accurate predictions.

On the other hand, if you don’t have any labels available, unsupervised learning techniques like clustering and dimensionality reduction can help in uncovering hidden patterns in your data. Lastly, semi-supervised learning can be beneficial when you have limited labelled data but a wealth of unlabelled data to leverage.

  • Supervised Learning:
    • Classification
    • Regression
  • Unsupervised Learning:
    • Clustering
    • Dimensionality Reduction
  • Semi-supervised Learning

With the diverse range of machine learning techniques available, it’s important to select the most suitable approach based on your data and problem domain. The choice between supervised, unsupervised, or semi-supervised learning depends on the availability of labelled data, the nature of the problem, and the desired outcome. By understanding these different types of machine learning and their applicability to labelled data, you can make informed decisions when developing machine learning models.

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