# Gradient descent for linear regression using numpy/pandas

I currently follow along Andrew Ng's Machine Learning Course on Coursera and wanted to implement the gradient descent algorithm in python3 using numpy and pandas.

This is what I came up with:

import os
import numpy as np
import pandas as pd

def get_training_data(path):    # path to read data from

# append a column of ones to the front of the data set
raw_panda_data.insert(0, 'Ones', 1)

num_columns = raw_panda_data.shape                       # (num_rows, num_columns)
panda_X = raw_panda_data.iloc[:,0:num_columns-1]            # [ slice_of_rows, slice_of_columns ]
panda_y = raw_panda_data.iloc[:,num_columns-1:num_columns]  # [ slice_of_rows, slice_of_columns ]

X = np.matrix(panda_X.values)   # pandas.DataFrame -> numpy.ndarray -> numpy.matrix
y = np.matrix(panda_y.values)   # pandas.DataFrame -> numpy.ndarray -> numpy.matrix

return X, y

def compute_mean_square_error(X, y, theta):
summands = np.power(X * theta.T - y, 2)
return np.sum(summands) / (2 * len(X))

num_parameters = X.shape                                 # dim theta
theta = np.matrix([0.0 for i in range(num_parameters)])     # init theta
cost = [0.0 for i in range(num_iterations)]

for it in range(num_iterations):
error = np.repeat((X * theta.T) - y, num_parameters, axis=1)
error_derivative = np.sum(np.multiply(error, X), axis=0)
theta = theta - (learning_rate / len(y)) * error_derivative
cost[it] = compute_mean_square_error(X, y, theta)

return theta, cost


This is how one could use the code:

X, y = get_training_data(os.getcwd() + '/data/data_set.csv')
theta, cost = gradient_descent(X, y, 0.008, 10000)

print('Theta: ', theta)
print('Cost: ', cost[-1])


Where data/data_set.csv could contain data (model used: 2 + x1 - x2 = y) looking like this:

x1, x2, y
0, 1, 1
1, 1, 2
1, 0, 3
0, 0, 2
2, 4, 0
4, 2, 4
6, 0, 8


Output:

Theta:  [[ 2.  1. -1.]]
Cost:  9.13586056551e-26


I'd especially like to get the following aspects of my code reviewed:

• Overall python style. I'm relatively new to python coming from a C background and not sure if I'm misunderstanding some concepts here.
• numpy/pandas integration. Do I use these packages correctly?
• Correctness of the gradient descent algorithm.
• Efficiency. How can I further improve my code?
• You could use np.zeros to initialize theta and cost in your gradient descent function, in my opinion it is clearer. Also why uppercase X and lowercase y? I would make them consistent and perhaps even give them descriptive names, e.g. input and output. Finally, you could look into exceptions handling e.g. for bad input data from pandas or invalid values for learning_rate or num_iterations. – nluigi Jul 25 '17 at 21:37
• @nluigi The notation comes from the machine learning course. X is a matrix and y is a vector, but you are probably right that I should rename the parameters or add an explaining comment. – Herickson Jul 26 '17 at 13:15
• Note you can also use theta = np.zeros_like(X) if you would like to initialize theta with an array of zeros with dimensions of X. – nluigi Jul 26 '17 at 14:25
• @nluigi Thank you for the tipp. Sadly theta doesn't have the same dimensions as X. Regardless I'll keep the np.zeros_like(...) function in the back of my head. – Herickson Jul 26 '17 at 21:27

Without having the insight (or, honestly, time) to verify your actual algorithm, I can say that your Python is pretty good.

Only minor stuff - this kind of comment - # path to read data from - should be turned into a PEP257-style docstring.

You should add a shebang at the top of your file, probably #!/usr/bin/env python3.

Otherwise, you're off to a good start.

• I just added the shebang and made the script executable. It's honestly so much more comfortable than typing python3 gradient_descent.py all the time. Thank you for the tipps! – Herickson Jul 25 '17 at 18:28

I like your Python style. There is an issue with your algorithm though. numpy.repeat does not work the way you expect it to. Try this code:

import numpy as np
theta = np.matrix([1,2,3])
y = 2
X = np.matrix(np.array(range(9)).reshape(3,3))
error = np.repeat((X * theta.T) - y, 3, axis=1)

print(error)

>>>[[ 6  6  6]
[24 24 24]
[42 42 42]]

print(np.dot(X, theta.T)-y)

>>>[[ 6]




Do you see how numpy.repeat returns a matrix although you want to return a vector?

• Do you refer to my line error = np.repeat((X * theta.T) - y, num_parameters, axis=1)?. I thought about it and still think, that my calculation is correct. I calculate the heuristic function for the x-values via X * theta.T. The result is a matrix with a single column, where the i-th row contains the difference of the heuristic function for the x-values of the i-th training example and output value in the i-th training example. What do you think is wrong here? – Herickson Aug 15 '18 at 22:41
• Sry, my previous answer was wrong. I edited it accordingly. – thoq Aug 21 '18 at 17:24

You can also use numpy.zeros(shape) to initialize the tetha and cost vectors with zeros.