Visualizing Model Input Effects

Ilknur Kaynar Kabul shows us how to use partial dependence plots and individual conditional expectation plots to view the specific effect of an input variable on a model:

A partial dependence (PD) plot depicts the functional relationship between a small number of input variables and predictions. They show how the predictions partially depend on values of the input variables of interest.  For example, a PD plot can show whether the probability of flu increases linearly with fever. It can show whether high energy level will decrease the probability of having flu. PD can also show the type of relationship, such as a step function, curvilinear, linear and so on.

The simplest PD plots are 1-way plots, which show how a model’s predictions depend on a single input. The plot below shows the relationship (according the model that we trained) between price (target) and number of bathrooms. Here, we see that house prices increase as we increase the number of bathroom up to 4. After that it does not change the house price.

These types of plots are helpful for understanding the mechanics behind a model.

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