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For many learning algorithms, among them linear regression, logistic regression and neural networks,

the way we derive the algorithm was by coming up with a cost function or coming up with an optimization objective.

And then using an algorithm like gradient descent to minimize that cost function.

We have a very large training set gradient descent becomes a computationally very expensive procedure.

In this video, we'll talk about a modification to the basic gradient descent algorithm called Stochastic gradient descent,

which will allow us to scale these algorithms to much bigger training sets.

Suppose you are training a linear regression model using gradient descent.

As a quick recap, the hypothesis will look like this, and the cost function will look like this,

which is the sum of one half of the average square error of your hypothesis on your m training examples,

and the cost function we've already seen looks like this sort of bow-shaped function.

So, plotted as function of the parameters theta 0 and theta 1, the cost function J is a sort of a bow-shaped function.

And gradient descent looks like this, where in the inner loop of gradient descent

you repeatedly update the parameters theta using that expression.

Now in the rest of this video, I'm going to keep using linear regression as the running example.

But the ideas here, the ideas of Stochastic gradient descent is fully general and also applies to other learning algorithms

like logistic regression, neural networks and other algorithms that are based on training gradient descent on a specific training set.

So here's a picture of what gradient descent does, if the parameters are initialized to the point there

then as you run gradient descent different iterations of gradient descent will take the parameters to the global minimum.

So take a trajectory that looks like that and heads pretty directly to the global minimum.

Now, the problem with gradient descent is that if m is large.

Then computing this derivative term can be very expensive, because the surprise, summing over all m examples.

So if m is 300 million, alright. So in the United States, there are about 300 million people.

And so the US or United States census data may have on the order of that many records.

So you want to fit the linear regression model to that then you need to sum over 300 million records.

And that's very expensive. To give the algorithm a name, this particular version of gradient descent is also called Batch gradient descent.

And the term Batch refers to the fact that we're looking at all of the training examples at a time.

We call it sort of a batch of all of the training examples.

And it really isn't the, maybe the best name but this is what machine learning people call this particular version of gradient descent.

And if you imagine really that you have 300 million census records stored away on disc.

The way this algorithm works is you need to read into your computer memory all 300 million records in order to compute this derivative term.

You need to stream all of these records through computer because you can't store all your records in computer memory.

So you need to read through them and slowly, you know, accumulate the sum in order to compute the derivative.

And then having done all that work, that allows you to take one step of gradient descent.

And now you need to do the whole thing again.

You know, scan through all 300 million records, accumulate these sums.

And having done all that work, you can take another little step using gradient descent.

And then do that again. And then you take yet a third step. And so on.

And so it's gonna take a long time in order to get the algorithm to converge.

In contrast to Batch gradient descent, what we are going to do is come up with a different algorithm

that doesn't need to look at all the training examples in every single iteration,

but that needs to look at only a single training example in one iteration.

Before moving on to the new algorithm, here's just a Batch gradient descent algorithm written out again

with that being the cost function and that being the update and of course this term here,

that's used in the gradient descent rule, that is the partial derivative

with respect to the parameters theta J of our optimization objective, J train of theta.

Now, let's look at the more efficient algorithm that scales better to large data sets.

In order to work off the algorithms called Stochastic gradient descent,

this vectors the cost function in a slightly different way then they define the cost of the parameter theta

with respect to a training example x(i), y(i) to be equal to one half times the squared error

that my hypothesis incurs on that example, x(i), y(i).

So this cost function term really measures how well is my hypothesis doing on a single example x(i), y(i).

Now you notice that the overall cost function j train can now be written in this equivalent form.

So j train is just the average over my m training examples of the cost of my hypothesis on that example x(i), y(i).

Armed with this view of the cost function for linear regression,

let me now write out what Stochastic gradient descent does.

The first step of Stochastic gradient descent is to randomly shuffle the data set.

So by that I just mean randomly shuffle, or randomly reorder your m training examples.

It's sort of a standard pre-processing step, come back to this in a minute.

But the main work of Stochastic gradient descent is then done in the following.

We're going to repeat for i equals 1 through m.

So we'll repeatedly scan through my training examples and perform the following update.

Gonna update the parameter theta j as theta j minus alpha times h of x(i) minus y(i) times x(i)j.

And we're going to do this update as usual for all values of j.

Now, you notice that this term over here is exactly what we had inside the summation for Batch gradient descent.

In fact, for those of you that are calculus is possible to show that that term here, that's this term here,

is equal to the partial derivative with respect to my parameter theta j of the cost of the parameters theta on x(i), y(i).

Where cost is of course this thing that was defined previously.

And just the wrap of the algorithm, let me close my curly braces over there.

So what Stochastic gradient descent is doing is it is actually scanning through the training examples.

And first it's gonna look at my first training example x(1), y(1).

And then looking at only this first example, it's gonna take like a basically a little gradient descent step

with respect to the cost of just this first training example.

So in other words, we're going to look at the first example

and modify the parameters a little bit to fit just the first training example a little bit better.

Having done this inside this inner for-loop is then going to go on to the second training example.

And what it's going to do there is take another little step in parameter space,

so modify the parameters just a little bit to try to fit just a second training example a little bit better.

Having done that, is then going to go onto my third training example.

And modify the parameters to try to fit just the third training example a little bit better, and so on

until you know, you get through the entire training set.

And then this ultra repeat loop may cause it to take multiple passes over the entire training set.

This view of Stochastic gradient descent also motivates why we wanted to start by randomly shuffling the data set.

This doesn't show us that when we scan through the training site here,

that we end up visiting the training examples in some sort of randomly sorted order.

Depending on whether your data already came randomly sorted or whether it came originally sorted in some strange order,

in practice this would just speed up the conversions to Stochastic gradient descent just a little bit.

So in the interest of safety, it's usually better to randomly shuffle the data set if you aren't sure

if it came to you in randomly sorted order.

But more importantly another view of Stochastic gradient descent is

that it's a lot like descent but rather than wait to sum up these gradient terms over all m training examples,

what we're doing is we're taking this gradient term using just one single training example

and we're starting to make progress in improving the parameters already.

So rather than, you know, waiting 'till taking a path through all 300,000 United States Census records,

say, rather than needing to scan through all of the training examples

before we can modify the parameters a little bit and make progress towards a global minimum.

For Stochastic gradient descent instead we just need to look at a single training example

and we're already starting to make progress in this case of parameters towards, moving the parameters towards the global minimum.

So, here's the algorithm written out again where the first step is to randomly shuffle the data

and the second step is where the real work is done, where that's the update with respect to a single training example x(i), y(i).

So, let's see what this algorithm does to the parameters.

Previously, we saw that when we are using Batch gradient descent,

that is the algorithm that looks at all the training examples in time,

Batch gradient descent will tend to, you know, take a reasonably straight line trajectory to get to the global minimum like that.

In contrast with Stochastic gradient descent every iteration is going to be much faster

because we don't need to sum up over all the training examples.

But every iteration is just trying to fit single training example better.

So, if we were to start stochastic gradient descent, oh, let's start stochastic gradient descent at a point like that.

The first iteration, you know, may take the parameters in that direction and

maybe the second iteration looking at just the second example maybe just by chance,

we get more unlucky and actually head in a bad direction with the parameters like that.

In the third iteration where we tried to modify the parameters to fit just the third training examples better,

maybe we'll end up heading in that direction.

And then we'll look at the fourth training example and we will do that. The fifth example, sixth example, 7th and so on.

And as you run Stochastic gradient descent, what you find is that

it will generally move the parameters in the direction of the global minimum, but not always.

And so take some more random-looking, circuitous path to watch the global minimum.

And in fact as you run Stochastic gradient descent it doesn't actually converge in the same same sense as Batch gradient descent does

and what it ends up doing is wandering around continuously in some region that's in some region close to the global minimum,

but it doesn't just get to the global minimum and stay there.

But in practice this isn't a problem because, you know, so

long as the parameters end up in some region there maybe it is pretty close to the global minimum.

So, as parameters end up pretty close to the global minimum, that will be a pretty good hypothesis

and so usually running Stochastic gradient descent

we get a parameter near the global minimum and that's good enough for, you know, essentially any, most practical purposes.

Just one final detail. In Stochastic gradient descent,

we had this outer loop repeat which says to do this inner loop multiple times.

So, how many times do we repeat this outer loop?

Depending on the size of the training set, doing this loop just a single time may be enough.

And up to, you know, maybe 10 times may be typical

so we may end up repeating this inner loop anywhere from once to ten times.

So if we have a you know, truly massive data set like the this US census gave us that example

that I've been talking about with 300 million examples,

it is possible that by the time you've taken just a single pass through your training set.

So, this is for i equals 1 through 300 million.

It's possible that by the time you've taken a single pass through your data set

you might already have a perfectly good hypothesis.

In which case, you know, this inner loop you might need to do only once if m is very, very large.

But in general taking anywhere from 1 through 10 passes through your data set, you know, maybe fairly common.

But really it depends on the size of your training set.

And if you contrast this to Batch gradient descent.

With Batch gradient descent, after taking a pass through your entire training set,

you would have taken just one single gradient descent steps.

So one of these little baby steps of gradient descent where you just take one small gradient descent step

and this is why Stochastic gradient descent can be much faster.

So, that was the Stochastic gradient descent algorithm.

And if you implement it, hopefully that will allow you to scale up many of your learning algorithms

to much bigger data sets and get much more performance that way.