Introduction
In this blog post, we’ll be exploring Linear Regression in Machine Learning with Python.
There are many potential applications for linear regression, especially for your business, including:

Sales forecasting: Linear regression can be used to predict future sales based on historical data, such as product pricing, marketing expenses, and consumer demographics.

Inventory management: Linear regression can be used to predict demand for a product, which can help businesses optimize inventory levels and avoid stockouts or overstocking.

Pricing analysis: Linear regression can be used to identify factors that affect a product’s price, such as competition, production costs, and consumer demand. This can help businesses set competitive prices and increase profits.

Credit risk analysis: Linear regression can be used to predict the likelihood of a borrower defaulting on a loan. This can help financial institutions make more informed decisions about lending and set appropriate interest rates.

Quality control: Linear regression can be used to identify factors that affect the quality of a product, such as manufacturing processes and raw materials. This can help businesses improve the quality of their products and reduce costs associated with defects and recalls.

Employee performance: Linear regression can be used to identify factors that affect employee performance, such as job training and experience, and can help businesses make decisions about hiring, promotions, and compensation.
Your FREE Guide to Become a Data Scientist
Don’t wait, download now and transform your career!
Linear Regression in Machine Learning Explained
Linear Regression is a supervised learning algorithm in machine learning and python that is used to predict a continuous target variable based on one or more input features. It is a fundamental algorithm in statistics and machine learning and is widely used for both simple and complex problems. The goal of linear regression is to find the best linear relationship between the input features and the target variable, which is represented by a linear equation of the form:
y = b0 + b1x1 + b2x2 + … + bn*xn
Where y is the target variable, x1, x2, … xn are the input features, b0 is the yintercept, and b1, b2, … bn are the coefficients of the model. The goal is to find the values of the coefficients that minimize the residual sum of squares (RSS) between the predicted and actual values of the target variable. It should be noted that Linear regression assumes linearity and independence between features, homoscedasticity and normality of the errors, and that the sample is big enough.
Why is Linear Regression Important for Machine Learning
Often students learning about machine learning or python will first encounter Linear Regression as their first “estimator” or “model”. There are several reasons why this algorithm is so important for machine learning:
 Linear Regression is easy to understand and interpret and it is a good starting point for more complex models.
 Linear Regression can be used as a benchmark for other models, and it can be used to understand the relationship between the input features and the target variable.
 Linear Regression can be used to estimate the expected value of the target variable based on the input features.
 Linear Regression can be used to identify the most important features that affect the target variable.
 Linear Regression is computationally efficient and easy to implement.
 Linear Regression is widely used in various fields such as finance, economics, social sciences, and engineering.
How Linear Regression Works with a Python Example
Here is a simple example of using Linear Regression with Python and ScikitLearn, as well as exploring the error metrics for the model performance using a traintest split.
In this example, we use the LinearRegression
class from scikitlearn to create a linear regression model. We then use the fit
method to fit the model to the training data, and the predict
method to predict the target variable using the test data. The coef_
and intercept_
attributes of the model object give the coefficients and intercept of the model. The performance of the model can be evaluated using metrics such as mean squared error (MSE) which can be calculated using the mean_squared_error
function from scikitlearn.
# Import necessary libraries
import numpy as np
from sklearn.linear_model import LinearRegression
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
# Load the data
X = np.array([[1, 2], [3, 4], [5, 6], [7, 8]])
y = np.array([1, 2, 3, 4])
# Split the data into training and test sets
X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(X, y, test_size=0.2, random_state=42)
# Create the linear regression object
model = LinearRegression()
# Fit the model to the training data
model.fit(X_train, y_train)
# Predict the target variable using the test data
y_pred = model.predict(X_test)
# Print the coefficient and intercept of the model
print("Coefficients: ", model.coef_)
print("Intercept: ", model.intercept_)
# Evaluate the model's performance using mean squared error
from sklearn.metrics import mean_squared_error
mse = mean_squared_error(y_test, y_pred)
print("Mean Squared Error: ", mse)
Types of Linear Regression in Machine Learning
There are several variations of Linear Regression, they build off of the basic simple linear regression. Let’s provide some descriptions of the variety of types so you can inform yourself of the options you have:
Regression Type Name  Description 

Simple Linear Regression  Simple linear regression is a statistical method for modeling the relationship between a dependent variable and one single independent variables using a linear equation. 
Multivariable Linear Regression  Multivariate linear regression is a statistical method for modeling the relationship between multiple dependent variables and multiple independent variables using a linear equation. The goal is to find the hyperplane of best fit through the data points, which can be used to make predictions about the dependent variables given new values of the independent variables. 
Polynomial Regression  Polynomial Regression is a type of regression analysis in which the relationship between the independent variable x and the dependent variable y is modeled as an nth degree polynomial. It is a special case of multiple linear regression, where the relationship between the independent variable(s) and the dependent variable is modeled as an nth degree polynomial. It can be useful when the relationship between the independent and dependent variables is not linear. 
Ridge Regression  Ridge Regression is a type of linear regression that is used to prevent overfitting in the model by adding a regularization term, also known as L2 regularization, to the loss function. The regularization term is the sum of the squared coefficients multiplied by a regularization parameter, lambda (λ). This term causes the coefficients of the model to be smaller, which can help prevent overfitting. 
LASSO Regression  LASSO (Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator) regression is a type of linear regression that is used to prevent overfitting in the model by adding a regularization term, also known as L1 regularization, to the loss function. The regularization term is the sum of the absolute values of the coefficients multiplied by a regularization parameter, lambda (λ). This term causes the coefficients of the model to be smaller and can also make some of the coefficients exactly equal to zero, which can be used for feature selection. 
Elastic Net Regression  Elastic Net regression is a type of linear regression that combines both L1 and L2 regularization terms in the loss function. The regularization term is the sum of the absolute values of the coefficients multiplied by a regularization parameter, lambda (λ1), and the sum of the squared coefficients multiplied by another regularization parameter, alpha (α). α controls the balance between L1 and L2 regularization and can take any value between 0 and 1. When α=0, Elastic Net is equivalent to Ridge Regression and when α=1, it is equivalent to Lasso Regression. 
Pros and Cons of Using Linear Regression
There are many pros to using linear regression, which is why it has been around for such a long time! Let’s discuss from pros:
 It is a simple and interpretable model that can be easily understood by nonexperts.
 It can handle a large number of predictor variables, making it suitable for modeling complex relationships.
 It can be applied to both continuous and categorical dependent variables.
 It is efficient to implement and computationally inexpensive.
 It can be regularized to prevent overfitting, a common problem in highdimensional datasets.
 Its assumptions are well studied, and the GaussMarkov theorem states that under certain assumptions, the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates are the best linear unbiased estimator (BLUE).
 It can be used as a building block to create more complex models, such as multiple linear regression and polynomial regression.
Of course, its not a perfect model! There are some Cons that will lead you to have to explore other, more complex models. The Cons of Linear Regression:
 Linear Regression assumes independence of the observations, but in realworld scenarios, this is not always the case, for example, in the case of time series data, the observations are dependent on each other.
 Linear Regression is sensitive to outliers and can be affected by leverage points, which are observations with extreme predictor values.
 Linear Regression assumes that the predictor variables are measured without error, this is known as errorsinvariables problem, and can lead to biased coefficients and poor predictions.
 Linear Regression model doesn’t handle categorical variables well and requires them to be transformed into numerical variables before being used in the model.
 Linear Regression assumes linearity of the relationships between the predictors and the response variable, not considering nonlinearity can lead to a poor model fit and inaccurate predictions.
 Linear Regression assumes that the errors are identically and independently distributed with a normal distribution. Deviation from this assumption can lead to biased or inefficient parameter estimates.
 Linear Regression assumes no multicollinearity among the predictor variables, in case of high correlation among predictors, it can lead to unstable parameter estimates, and make the interpretation of the coefficients difficult.
Summary
Linear Regression is a supervised learning algorithm in machine learning and python that is used to predict a continuous target variable based on one or more input features. Linear regression assumes linearity and independence between features, homoscedasticity and normality of the errors, and that the sample is big enough. It is a fundamental algorithm in statistics and machine learning and is widely used for both simple and complex problems. Linear Regression can be used for simple linear regression when there is only one input feature or for multiple linear regression when there are multiple input features. The goal of linear regression is to find the best linear relationship between the input features and the target variable, which is represented by a linear equation. Linear Regression is easy to understand and interpret, computationally efficient and easy to implement and it is a good starting point for more complex models. Python and scikitlearn library provide easy ways to implement Linear Regression and evaluate its performance.
To learn more, check out our Python for Machine Learning courses!