Have You Tried Using a 'Nearest Neighbor Search'?


While I learned a great deal over the course of the semester, there was one minor point that she made to the class which stuck with me more than I expected it to at the time: before using a really fancy or sophisticated or "in-vogue" machine learning algorithm to solve your problem, try a simple Nearest Neighbor Search first. In addition, if you don't have very many points in your initial data set, the performance of this approach is questionable (though such a case in general is enough to give most machine learning researchers pause). Neural networks require a notoriously massive amount of data; this Google Neural Network paper is capable of classifying 1,000 different types of images and was trained on over a million photos. So the next time you're faced with an unknown machine learning problem, remember to give Nearest Neighbor Search a try.