machine learning intern interview questions

Top Machine Learning Interview Questions
  • What Are the Different Types of Machine Learning? …
  • What is Overfitting, and How Can You Avoid It? …
  • What is ‘training Set’ and ‘test Set’ in a Machine Learning Model? …
  • How Do You Handle Missing or Corrupted Data in a Dataset?

Machine Learning Interview Questions and Answers | Machine Learning Interview Preparation | Edureka

Machine Learning Interview Questions: 4 Categories

We’ve traditionally seen machine learning interview questions pop up in several categories.

  • The first really has to do with the algorithms and theory behind machine learning. You’ll have to show an understanding of how algorithms compare with one another and how to measure their efficacy and accuracy in the right way.
  • The second category has to do with your programming skills and your ability to execute on top of those algorithms and the theory.
  • The third has to do with your general interest in machine learning. You’ll be asked about what’s going on in the industry and how you keep up with the latest machine learning trends.
  • Finally, there are company or industry-specific questions that test your ability to take your general machine learning knowledge and turn it into actionable points to drive the bottom line forward.
  • We’ve divided this guide to machine learning interview questions into the categories we mentioned above so that you can more easily get to the information you need when it comes to machine learning interview questions.

    Machine Learning Interview Questions: Algorithms/Theory

    Machine learning interview questions about ML algorithms will test your grasp of the theory behind machine learning.

    Answer: Bias is error due to erroneous or overly simplistic assumptions in the learning algorithm you’re using. This can lead to the model underfitting your data, making it hard for it to have high predictive accuracy and for you to generalize your knowledge from the training set to the test set.

    Variance is error due to too much complexity in the learning algorithm you’re using. This leads to the algorithm being highly sensitive to high degrees of variation in your training data, which can lead your model to overfit the data. You’ll be carrying too much noise from your training data for your model to be very useful for your test data.

    The bias-variance decomposition essentially decomposes the learning error from any algorithm by adding the bias, the variance and a bit of irreducible error due to noise in the underlying dataset. Essentially, if you make the model more complex and add more variables, you’ll lose bias but gain some variance — in order to get the optimally reduced amount of error, you’ll have to tradeoff bias and variance. You don’t want either high bias or high variance in your model.

    Answer: Supervised learning requires training labeled data. For example, in order to do classification (a supervised learning task), you’ll need to first label the data you’ll use to train the model to classify data into your labeled groups. Unsupervised learning, in contrast, does not require labeling data explicitly.

    Answer: K-Nearest Neighbors is a supervised classification algorithm, while k-means clustering is an unsupervised clustering algorithm. While the mechanisms may seem similar at first, what this really means is that in order for K-Nearest Neighbors to work, you need labeled data you want to classify an unlabeled point into (thus the nearest neighbor part). K-means clustering requires only a set of unlabeled points and a threshold: the algorithm will take unlabeled points and gradually learn how to cluster them into groups by computing the mean of the distance between different points.

    The critical difference here is that KNN needs labeled points and is thus supervised learning, while k-means doesn’t—and is thus unsupervised learning.

    Answer: The ROC curve is a graphical representation of the contrast between true positive rates and the false positive rate at various thresholds. It’s often used as a proxy for the trade-off between the sensitivity of the model (true positives) vs the fall-out or the probability it will trigger a false alarm (false positives).

    Answer: Recall is also known as the true positive rate: the amount of positives your model claims compared to the actual number of positives there are throughout the data. Precision is also known as the positive predictive value, and it is a measure of the amount of accurate positives your model claims compared to the number of positives it actually claims. It can be easier to think of recall and precision in the context of a case where you’ve predicted that there were 10 apples and 5 oranges in a case of 10 apples. You’d have perfect recall (there are actually 10 apples, and you predicted there would be 10) but 66.7% precision because out of the 15 events you predicted, only 10 (the apples) are correct.

    Explanation: Out of a sample size of 15 (10 apples + 5 oranges), you have identified 10 apples as apples BUT you have also incorrectly predicted 5 oranges as apples. This implies that the true positive figure is 10 (10 correctly identified apples), whereas the false positive figure is 5 (5 oranges incorrectly tagged as apples).

    As per the formula of Precision = True Positive / (True Positive + False Positive), therefore the precision rate is 67%.

    As per the Recall formula = True Positive / (True Positive + False Negative), hence the recall rate is 100%. This is because not a single apple was incorrectly predicted as an orange.

    machine learning intern interview questions

    Answer: Bayes’ Theorem gives you the posterior probability of an event given what is known as prior knowledge.

    Mathematically, it’s expressed as the true positive rate of a condition sample divided by the sum of the false positive rate of the population and the true positive rate of a condition. Say you had a 60% chance of actually having the flu after a flu test, but out of people who had the flu, the test will be false 50% of the time, and the overall population only has a 5% chance of having the flu. Would you actually have a 60% chance of having the flu after having a positive test?

    Bayes’ Theorem says no. It says that you have a (.6 * 0.05) (True Positive Rate of a Condition Sample) / (.6*0.05)(True Positive Rate of a Condition Sample) + (.5*0.95) (False Positive Rate of a Population) = 0.0594 or 5.94% chance of getting a flu.

    Bayes’ Theorem is the basis behind a branch of machine learning that most notably includes the Naive Bayes classifier. That’s something important to consider when you’re faced with machine learning interview questions.

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    Answer: Despite its practical applications, especially in text mining, Naive Bayes is considered “Naive” because it makes an assumption that is virtually impossible to see in real-life data: the conditional probability is calculated as the pure product of the individual probabilities of components. This implies the absolute independence of features — a condition probably never met in real life.

    As a Quora commenter put it whimsically, a Naive Bayes classifier that figured out that you liked pickles and ice cream would probably naively recommend you a pickle ice cream.

    Answer: L2 regularization tends to spread error among all the terms, while L1 is more binary/sparse, with many variables either being assigned a 1 or 0 in weighting. L1 corresponds to setting a Laplacean prior on the terms, while L2 corresponds to a Gaussian prior.

    Answer: Interviewers ask such machine learning interview questions to test your understanding of how to communicate complex and technical nuances with poise and the ability to summarize quickly and efficiently. While answering such questions, make sure you have a choice and ensure you can explain different algorithms so simply and effectively that a five-year-old could grasp the basics!

    Answer: Don’t think that this is a trick question! Many machine learning interview questions will be an attempt to lob basic questions at you just to make sure you’re on top of your game and you’ve prepared all of your bases.

    Type I error is a false positive, while Type II error is a false negative. Briefly stated, Type I error means claiming something has happened when it hasn’t, while Type II error means that you claim nothing is happening when in fact something is.

    A clever way to think about this is to think of Type I error as telling a man he is pregnant, while Type II error means you tell a pregnant woman she isn’t carrying a baby.

    Answer: A Fourier transform is a generic method to decompose generic functions into a superposition of symmetric functions. Or as this more intuitive tutorial puts it, given a smoothie, it’s how we find the recipe. The Fourier transform finds the set of cycle speeds, amplitudes, and phases to match any time signal. A Fourier transform converts a signal from time to frequency domain—it’s a very common way to extract features from audio signals or other time series such as sensor data.

    Answer: Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that is concerned with neural networks: how to use backpropagation and certain principles from neuroscience to more accurately model large sets of unlabelled or semi-structured data. In that sense, deep learning represents an unsupervised learning algorithm that learns representations of data through the use of neural nets.

    Answer: A generative model will learn categories of data while a discriminative model will simply learn the distinction between different categories of data. Discriminative models will generally outperform generative models on classification tasks.

    Answer: Instead of using standard k-folds cross-validation, you have to pay attention to the fact that a time series is not randomly distributed data—it is inherently ordered by chronological order. If a pattern emerges in later time periods, for example, your model may still pick up on it even if that effect doesn’t hold in earlier years!

    You’ll want to do something like forward chaining where you’ll be able to model on past data then look at forward-facing data.

  • Fold 1 : training [1], test [2]
  • Fold 2 : training [1 2], test [3]
  • Fold 3 : training [1 2 3], test [4]
  • Fold 4 : training [1 2 3 4], test [5]
  • Fold 5 : training [1 2 3 4 5], test [6]
  • Answer: Pruning is what happens in decision trees when branches that have weak predictive power are removed in order to reduce the complexity of the model and increase the predictive accuracy of a decision tree model. Pruning can happen bottom-up and top-down, with approaches such as reduced error pruning and cost complexity pruning.

    Reduced error pruning is perhaps the simplest version: replace each node. If it doesn’t decrease predictive accuracy, keep it pruned. While simple, this heuristic actually comes pretty close to an approach that would optimize for maximum accuracy.

    Answer: Such machine learning interview questions tests your grasp of the nuances of machine learning model performance! Machine learning interview questions often look towards the details. There are models with higher accuracy that can perform worse in predictive power—how does that make sense?

    Well, it has everything to do with how model accuracy is only a subset of model performance, and at that, a sometimes misleading one. For example, if you wanted to detect fraud in a massive dataset with a sample of millions, a more accurate model would most likely predict no fraud at all if only a vast minority of cases were fraud. However, this would be useless for a predictive model—a model designed to find fraud that asserted there was no fraud at all! Questions like this help you demonstrate that you understand model accuracy isn’t the be-all and end-all of model performance.

    Answer: The F1 score is a measure of a model’s performance. It is a weighted average of the precision and recall of a model, with results tending to 1 being the best, and those tending to 0 being the worst. You would use it in classification tests where true negatives don’t matter much.

    Answer: An imbalanced dataset is when you have, for example, a classification test and 90% of the data is in one class. That leads to problems: an accuracy of 90% can be skewed if you have no predictive power on the other category of data! Here are a few tactics to get over the hump:

  • Collect more data to even the imbalances in the dataset.
  • Resample the dataset to correct for imbalances.
  • Try a different algorithm altogether on your dataset.
  • What’s important here is that you have a keen sense for what damage an unbalanced dataset can cause, and how to balance that.

    Answer: Classification produces discrete values and dataset to strict categories, while regression gives you continuous results that allow you to better distinguish differences between individual points. You would use classification over regression if you wanted your results to reflect the belongingness of data points in your dataset to certain explicit categories (ex: If you wanted to know whether a name was male or female rather than just how correlated they were with male and female names.)

    Answer: Ensemble techniques use a combination of learning algorithms to optimize better predictive performance. They typically reduce overfitting in models and make the model more robust (unlikely to be influenced by small changes in the training data).

    You could list some examples of ensemble methods (bagging, boosting, the “bucket of models” method) and demonstrate how they could increase predictive power.

    Answer: This is a simple restatement of a fundamental problem in machine learning: the possibility of overfitting training data and carrying the noise of that data through to the test set, thereby providing inaccurate generalizations.

    There are three main methods to avoid overfitting:

  • Keep the model simpler: reduce variance by taking into account fewer variables and parameters, thereby removing some of the noise in the training data.
  • Use cross-validation techniques such as k-folds cross-validation.
  • Use regularization techniques such as LASSO that penalize certain model parameters if they’re likely to cause overfitting.
  • Answer: You would first split the dataset into training and test sets, or perhaps use cross-validation techniques to further segment the dataset into composite sets of training and test sets within the data. You should then implement a choice selection of performance metrics: here is a fairly comprehensive list. You could use measures such as the F1 score, the accuracy, and the confusion matrix. What’s important here is to demonstrate that you understand the nuances of how a model is measured and how to choose the right performance measures for the right situations.

    Answer: A subsection of the question above. You have to demonstrate an understanding of what the typical goals of a logistic regression are (classification, prediction, etc.) and bring up a few examples and use cases.

    Answer: The Kernel trick involves kernel functions that can enable in higher-dimension spaces without explicitly calculating the coordinates of points within that dimension: instead, kernel functions compute the inner products between the s of all pairs of data in a feature space. This allows them the very useful attribute of calculating the coordinates of higher dimensions while being computationally cheaper than the explicit calculation of said coordinates. Many algorithms can be expressed in terms of inner products. Using the kernel trick enables us effectively run algorithms in a high-dimensional space with lower-dimensional data.

    Machine Learning Interview Questions for Freshers

    If you are a beginner in Machine Learning and wish to establish yourself in this field, now is the time as ML professionals are in high demand. The questions in this section will prepare you for what’s coming.

    Here, we have compiled a list of frequently asked top machine learning interview questions(ml interview questions) that you might face during an interview.

    Explain the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning?

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the domain of producing intelligent machines. ML refers to systems that can assimilate from experience (training data) and Deep Learning (DL) states to systems that learn from experience on large data sets. ML can be considered as a subset of AI. Deep Learning (DL) is ML but useful to large data sets. The figure below roughly encapsulates the relation between AI, ML, and DL:

    machine learning intern interview questions

    In summary, DL is a subset of ML & both were the subsets of AI.

    Additional Information: ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) & NLP (Natural Language Processing) fall under AI and overlay with ML & DL as ML is often utilized for NLP and ASR tasks.

    machine learning intern interview questions


    How do I prepare for a machine learning interview?

    Machine Learning Interview Practice
    1. Predict rain, identify fish, detect plagiarism.
    2. Reduce data dimensionality and explore how SVMs work.
    3. Answer practice questions to test your skills in computer science fundamentals, applications of machine learning algorithms, and other key interview topics.

    What does a machine learning interview look like?

    The Amazon Machine Learning interview is composed of behavioral, software engineering, and machine learning questions. The interviewers may ask you about some basic ML concepts, your recent project, and describe how to solve a given ML/DL problem.

    How do you explain ML project in interview?

    All this is done in 10 easy steps!
    1. Step 1: Selecting a project. …
    2. Step 2: Explaining the data source. …
    3. Step 3: Explain your objective behind this project. …
    4. Step 3: Preparing your dataset. …
    5. Step 4: State the KPIs or Performance Metrics. …
    6. Step 5: Baseline model. …
    7. Step 6: Explain the training process.

    How do I clear my machine learning interview?

    1. 7 Tips To Crack Data Science And Machine Learning Interviews! 7 Detailed Tips To Help You Perform Better In Data Science And Machine Learning Interviews. …
    2. Hone Your Basics. …
    3. Be Confident. …
    4. Own Up To Your Resume. …
    5. Show Your Passion. …
    6. Focus On Specifics. …
    7. Strong Honest Attitude. …
    8. Make It A Habit To Make Brief Notes.

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