Machine learning is a scientific discipline that explores the construction and study of algorithms that can learn from data. Such algorithms operate by building a model from example inputs and using that to make predictions or decisions, rather than following strictly static program instructions.
Machine learning is closely related to and often overlaps with computational statistics; a discipline that also specializes in prediction-making.
Machine learning is a subfield of computer science stemming from research into artificial intelligence. It has strong ties to statistics and mathematical optimization, which deliver methods, theory and application domains to the field. Machine learning is employed in a range of computing tasks where designing and programming explicit, rule-based algorithms is infeasible.
Example applications include spam filtering, optical character recognition (OCR),search engines and computer vision. Machine learning is sometimes conflated with data mining, although that focuses more on exploratory data analysis. Machine learning and pattern recognition “can be viewed as two facets of the same field.”
When employed in industrial contexts, machine learning methods may be referred to as predictive analytics or predictive modelling.