Handling categorical data
So far, we have only been working with numerical values. However, it is not uncommon that real-world datasets contain one or more categorical feature columns. In this section, we will make use of simple yet effective examples to see how we deal with this type of data in numerical computing libraries.
Nominal and ordinal features
When we are talking about categorical data, we have to further distinguish between nominal and ordinal features. Ordinal features can be understood as categorical values that can be sorted or ordered. For example, t-shirt size would be an ordinal feature, because we can define an order XL > L > M. In contrast, nominal features don't imply any order and, to continue with the previous example, we ...