Bias and variance of polynomial fit

Demo overfitting, underfitting, and validation and learning curves with polynomial regression.

Fit polynomes of different degrees to a dataset: for too small a degree, the model underfits, while for too large a degree, it overfits.

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
def generating_func(x, rng=None, error=0.5):
rng = np.random.default_rng(rng)
return rng.normal(10 - 1.0 / (x + 0.1), error)

A polynomial regression

from sklearn.pipeline import make_pipeline
from sklearn.linear_model import LinearRegression
from sklearn.preprocessing import PolynomialFeatures

A simple figure to illustrate the problem

n_samples = 8
rng = np.random.default_rng(27446968)
x = 10 ** np.linspace(-2, 0, n_samples)
y = generating_func(x, rng=rng)
x_test = np.linspace(-0.2, 1.2, 1000)
titles = ["d = 1 (under-fit; high bias)", "d = 2", "d = 6 (over-fit; high variance)"]
degrees = [1, 2, 6]
fig = plt.figure(figsize=(9, 3.5))
fig.subplots_adjust(left=0.06, right=0.98, bottom=0.15, top=0.85, wspace=0.05)
for i, d in enumerate(degrees):
ax = fig.add_subplot(131 + i, xticks=[], yticks=[])
ax.scatter(x, y, marker="x", c="k", s=50)
model = make_pipeline(PolynomialFeatures(d), LinearRegression())
model.fit(x[:, np.newaxis], y)
ax.plot(x_test, model.predict(x_test[:, np.newaxis]), "-b")
ax.set_xlim(-0.2, 1.2)
ax.set_ylim(0, 12)
ax.set_xlabel("house size")
if i == 0:
d = 1 (under-fit; high bias), d = 2, d = 6 (over-fit; high variance)

Generate a larger dataset

from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
n_samples = 200
test_size = 0.4
error = 1.0
# randomly sample the data
x = rng.random(n_samples)
y = generating_func(x, rng=rng, error=error)
# split into training, validation, and testing sets.
x_train, x_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(x, y, test_size=test_size)
# show the training and validation sets
plt.figure(figsize=(6, 4))
plt.scatter(x_train, y_train, color="red", label="Training set")
plt.scatter(x_test, y_test, color="blue", label="Test set")
plt.title("The data")
The data
<matplotlib.legend.Legend object at 0x7f951c281750>

Plot a validation curve

from sklearn.model_selection import validation_curve
degrees = np.arange(1, 21)
model = make_pipeline(PolynomialFeatures(), LinearRegression())
# The parameter to vary is the "degrees" on the pipeline step
# "polynomialfeatures"
train_scores, validation_scores = validation_curve(
x[:, np.newaxis],
# Plot the mean train error and validation error across folds
plt.figure(figsize=(6, 4))
plt.plot(degrees, validation_scores.mean(axis=1), lw=2, label="cross-validation")
plt.plot(degrees, train_scores.mean(axis=1), lw=2, label="training")
plt.xlabel("degree of fit")
plt.ylabel("explained variance")
plt.title("Validation curve")
Validation curve

Learning curves

Plot train and test error with an increasing number of samples

# A learning curve for d=1, 5, 15
for d in [1, 5, 15]:
model = make_pipeline(PolynomialFeatures(degree=d), LinearRegression())
from sklearn.model_selection import learning_curve
train_sizes, train_scores, validation_scores = learning_curve(
model, x[:, np.newaxis], y, train_sizes=np.logspace(-1, 0, 20)
# Plot the mean train error and validation error across folds
plt.figure(figsize=(6, 4))
train_sizes, validation_scores.mean(axis=1), lw=2, label="cross-validation"
plt.plot(train_sizes, train_scores.mean(axis=1), lw=2, label="training")
plt.ylim(ymin=-0.1, ymax=1)
plt.xlabel("number of train samples")
plt.ylabel("explained variance")
plt.title("Learning curve (degree=%i)" % d)
  • Learning curve (degree=1)
  • Learning curve (degree=5)
  • Learning curve (degree=15)

Total running time of the script: (0 minutes 1.544 seconds)

Gallery generated by Sphinx-Gallery