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Machine Learning with R by Brett Lantz

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Chapter 2. Managing and Understanding Data

A key early component of any machine learning project involves managing and understanding the data you have collected. Although you may not find it as gratifying as building and deploying models—the stages in which you begin to see the fruits of your labor—you cannot ignore the preparatory work.

Any learning algorithm is only as good as its input data, and in many cases, input data is complex, messy, and spread across multiple sources and formats. Because of this complexity, the largest portion of effort invested in machine learning projects is spent on the data preparation and exploration process.

This chapter is divided into three main sections. The first section discusses the basic data structures R ...

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