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Different SVM Classifiers in the Iris Dataset in Scikit-learn

Comparison of different linear SVM classifiers on a 2D projection of the iris dataset. We only consider the first 2 features of this dataset:

  • Sepal length
  • Sepal width

This example shows how to plot the decision surface for four SVM classifiers with different kernels.

The linear models LinearSVC() and SVC(kernel='linear') yield slightly different decision boundaries. This can be a consequence of the following differences:

  • LinearSVC minimizes the squared hinge loss while SVC minimizes the regular hinge loss.
  • LinearSVC uses the One-vs-All (also known as One-vs-Rest) multiclass reduction while SVC uses the One-vs-One multiclass reduction.

Both linear models have linear decision boundaries (intersecting hyperplanes) while the non-linear kernel models (polynomial or Gaussian RBF) have more flexible non-linear decision boundaries with shapes that depend on the kind of kernel and its parameters.

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In [1]:
import sklearn


In [2]:
import plotly.plotly as py
import plotly.graph_objs as go
from plotly import tools

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from sklearn import svm, datasets


In [3]:
# import some data to play with
iris = datasets.load_iris()
X =[:, :2]  # we only take the first two features. We could
                      # avoid this ugly slicing by using a two-dim dataset
y =

h = .02  # step size in the mesh

# we create an instance of SVM and fit out data. We do not scale our
# data since we want to plot the support vectors
C = 1.0  # SVM regularization parameter
svc = svm.SVC(kernel='linear', C=C).fit(X, y)
rbf_svc = svm.SVC(kernel='rbf', gamma=0.7, C=C).fit(X, y)
poly_svc = svm.SVC(kernel='poly', degree=3, C=C).fit(X, y)
lin_svc = svm.LinearSVC(C=C).fit(X, y)

# create a mesh to plot in
x_min, x_max = X[:, 0].min() - 1, X[:, 0].max() + 1
y_min, y_max = X[:, 1].min() - 1, X[:, 1].max() + 1
x_ = np.arange(x_min, x_max, h)
y_ = np.arange(y_min, y_max, h)
xx, yy = np.meshgrid(x_, y_)

# title for the plots
titles = ('SVC with linear kernel',
          'LinearSVC (linear kernel)',
          'SVC with RBF kernel',
          'SVC with polynomial (degree 3) kernel')

Plot Results

In [4]:
def matplotlib_to_plotly(cmap, pl_entries):
    h = 1.0/(pl_entries-1)
    pl_colorscale = []
    for k in range(pl_entries):
        C = map(np.uint8, np.array(cmap(k*h)[:3])*255)
        pl_colorscale.append([k*h, 'rgb'+str((C[0], C[1], C[2]))])
    return pl_colorscale

cmap = matplotlib_to_plotly(, 5)

fig = tools.make_subplots(rows=2, cols=2,
In [5]:
for i, clf in enumerate((svc, lin_svc, rbf_svc, poly_svc)):
    # Plot the decision boundary. For that, we will assign a color to each
    # point in the mesh [x_min, x_max]x[y_min, y_max].
    Z = clf.predict(np.c_[xx.ravel(), yy.ravel()])

    # Put the result into a color plot
    Z = Z.reshape(xx.shape)
    p1 = go.Contour(x=x_, y=y_, z=Z, 
    fig.append_trace(p1, i/2+1, i%2+1)

    # Plot also the training points
    p2 = go.Scatter(x=X[:, 0], y=X[:, 1], 
                                line=dict(color='black', width=1))
    fig.append_trace(p2, i/2+1, i%2+1)
In [6]:
for i in map(str, range(1, 5)):
    y = 'yaxis'+ i
    x = 'xaxis'+i
    fig['layout'][y].update(showticklabels=False, ticks='',
                            title="Sepal Length")
    fig['layout'][x].update(showticklabels=False, ticks='',
                            title="Sepal Width")

fig['layout'].update(height=700, showlegend=False)

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