Confusion matrix is a table that is used to evaluate the performance of a machine learning model for a classification problem.

In this matrix, TP represents the number of true positive predictions (i.e., the model correctly predicted a positive outcome), TN represents the number of true negative predictions (i.e., the model correctly predicted a negative outcome), The false positive cell represents the number of times the model predicted a positive class, but it was actually a negative class, and the false negative cell represents the number of times the model predicted a negative class, but it was actually a positive class.

Using this confusion matrix, we can calculate various performance metrics such as:

  • Accuracy = (TP + TN) / (TP + TN + FP + FN)
  • Precision = TP / (TP + FP)
  • Recall = TP / (TP + FN)

Precision and recall

In general, precision and recall have different use cases depending on the specific problem and the priorities of the stakeholders.

  • If the cost of a false positive is high, such as in the case of detecting fraud or identifying a dangerous disease, it is often more important to maximize precision. In other words, it is more important to minimize the number of false positives, even if it means sacrificing some true positives. In such cases, a model with high precision can be preferred even if its recall is relatively low.
  • On the other hand, if the cost of a false negative is high, such as in the case of detecting cancer or identifying a security threat, it is often more important to maximize recall. In other words, it is more important to minimize the number of false negatives, even if it means increasing the number of false positives. In such cases, a model with high recall can be preferred even if its precision is relatively low.

It is important to note that precision and recall are typically trade-offs, meaning that improving one metric may lead to a decrease in the other. Therefore, it’s important to consider the specific problem and prioritize the metric that is most important for the stakeholders. In some cases, a balanced approach that seeks to optimize both precision and recall may be required.

 

The Data School
Author: The Data School