The Kaggle Book
eBook - ePub

The Kaggle Book

Konrad Banachewicz, Luca Massaron

  1. 530 páginas
  2. English
  3. ePUB (apto para móviles)
  4. Disponible en iOS y Android
eBook - ePub

The Kaggle Book

Konrad Banachewicz, Luca Massaron

Detalles del libro
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Información del libro

Get a step ahead of your competitors with insights from over 30 Kaggle Masters and Grandmasters. Discover tips, tricks, and best practices for competing effectively on Kaggle and becoming a better data scientist.Purchase of the print or Kindle book includes a free eBook in the PDF format.

Key Features

  • Learn how Kaggle works and how to make the most of competitions from over 30 expert Kagglers
  • Sharpen your modeling skills with ensembling, feature engineering, adversarial validation and AutoML
  • A concise collection of smart data handling techniques for modeling and parameter tuning

Book Description

Millions of data enthusiasts from around the world compete on Kaggle, the most famous data science competition platform of them all. Participating in Kaggle competitions is a surefire way to improve your data analysis skills, network with an amazing community of data scientists, and gain valuable experience to help grow your career.The first book of its kind, The Kaggle Book assembles in one place the techniques and skills you'll need for success in competitions, data science projects, and beyond. Two Kaggle Grandmasters walk you through modeling strategies you won't easily find elsewhere, and the knowledge they've accumulated along the way. As well as Kaggle-specific tips, you'll learn more general techniques for approaching tasks based on image, tabular, textual data, and reinforcement learning. You'll design better validation schemes and work more comfortably with different evaluation metrics.Whether you want to climb the ranks of Kaggle, build some more data science skills, or improve the accuracy of your existing models, this book is for you.Plus, join our Discord Community to learn along with more than 1, 000 members and meet like-minded people!

What you will learn

  • Get acquainted with Kaggle as a competition platform
  • Make the most of Kaggle Notebooks, Datasets, and Discussion forums
  • Create a portfolio of projects and ideas to get further in your career
  • Design k-fold and probabilistic validation schemes
  • Get to grips with common and never-before-seen evaluation metrics
  • Understand binary and multi-class classification and object detection
  • Approach NLP and time series tasks more effectively
  • Handle simulation and optimization competitions on Kaggle

Who this book is for

This book is suitable for anyone new to Kaggle, veteran users, and anyone in between. Data analysts/scientists who are trying to do better in Kaggle competitions and secure jobs with tech giants will find this book useful.A basic understanding of machine learning concepts will help you make the most of this book.


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Computer Science
Data Mining

Part I

Introduction to Competitions


Introducing Kaggle and Other Data Science Competitions

Data science competitions have long been around and they have experienced growing success over time, starting from a niche community of passionate competitors, drawing more and more attention, and reaching a much larger audience of millions of data scientists. As longtime competitors on the most popular data science competition platform, Kaggle, we have witnessed and directly experienced all these changes through the years.
At the moment, if you look for information about Kaggle and other competition platforms, you can easily find a large number of meetups, discussion panels, podcasts, interviews, and even online courses explaining how to win in such competitions (usually telling you to use a variable mixture of grit, computational resources, and time invested). However, apart from the book that you are reading now, you won’t find any structured guides about how to navigate so many data science competitions and how to get the most out of them – not just in terms of score or ranking, but also professional experience.
In this book, instead of just packaging up a few hints about how to win or score highly on Kaggle and other data science competitions, our intention is to present you with a guide on how to compete better on Kaggle and get back the maximum possible from your competition experiences, particularly from the perspective of your professional life. Also accompanying the contents of the book are interviews with Kaggle Masters and Grandmasters. We hope they will offer you some different perspectives and insights on specific aspects of competing on Kaggle, and inspire the way you will test yourself and learn doing competitive data science.
By the end of this book, you’ll have absorbed the knowledge we drew directly from our own experiences, resources, and learnings from competitions, and everything you need to pave a way for yourself to learn and grow, competition after competition.
As a starting point, in this chapter, we will explore how competitive programming evolved into data science competitions, why the Kaggle platform is the most popular site for such competitions, and how it works.
We will cover the following topics:
  • The rise of data science competition platforms
  • The Common Task Framework paradigm
  • The Kaggle platform and some other alternatives
  • How a Kaggle competition works: stages, competition types, submission and leaderboard dynamics, computational resources, networking, and more

The rise of data science competition platforms

Competitive programming has a long history, starting in the 1970s with the first iterations of the ICPC, the International Collegiate Programming Contest. In the original ICPC, small teams from universities and companies participated in a competition that required solving a series of problems using a computer program (at the beginning, participants coded in FORTRAN). In order to achieve a good final rank, teams had to display good skills in team working, problem solving, and programming.
The experience of participating in the heat of such a competition and the opportunity to stand in a spotlight for recruiting companies provided the students with ample motivation and it made the competition popular for many years. Among ICPC finalists, a few have become renowned: there is Adam D’Angelo, the former CTO of Facebook and founder of Quora, Nikolai Durov, the co-founder of Telegram Messenger, and Matei Zaharia, the creator of Apache Spark. Together with many other professionals, they all share the same experience: having taken part in an ICPC.
After the ICPC, programming competitions flourished, especially after 2000 when remote participation became more feasible, allowing international competitions to run more easily and at a lower cost. The format is similar for most of these competitions: there is a series of problems and you have to code a solution to solve them. The winners are given a prize, but also make themselves known to recruiting companies or simply become famous.
Typically, problems in competitive programming range from combinatorics and number theory to graph theory, algorithmic game theory, computational geometry, string analysis, and data structures. Recently, problems relating to artificial intelligence have successfully emerged, in particular after the launch of the KDD Cup, a contest in knowledge discovery and data mining, held by the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM’s) Special Interest Group (SIG) during its annual conference (
The first KDD Cup, held in 1997, involved a problem about direct marketing for lift curve optimization and it started a long series of competitions that continues today. You can find the archives containing datasets, instructions, and winners at Here is the latest available at the time of writing: KDD Cups proved quite effective in establishing best practices, with many published papers describing solutions, techniques, and competition dataset sharing, which have been useful for many practitioners for experimentation, education, and benchmarking.
The successful examples of both competitive programming events and the KDD Cup inspired companies (such as Netflix) and entrepreneurs (such as Anthony Goldbloom, the founder of Kaggle) to create the first data science competition platforms, where companies can host data science challenges that are hard to solve and might benefit from crowdsourcing. In fact, given that there is no golden approach that works for all the problems in data science, many problems require a time-consuming approach that can be summed up as try all that you can try.
In fact, in the long run, no algorithm can beat all the others on all problems, as stated by the No Free Lunch theorem by David Wolpert and William Macready. The theorem tells you that each machine learning algorithm performs if and only if its hypothesis space comprises the solution. Consequently, as you cannot know beforehand if a machine learning algorithm can best tackle your problem, you have to try it, testing it directly on your problem before being assured that you are doing the right thing. There are no theoretical shortcuts or other holy grails of machine learning – only empirical experimentation can tell you what works.
For more details, you can look up the No Free Lunch theorem for a theoretical explanation of this practical truth. Here is a complete article from Analytics India Magazine on the topic:
Crowdsourcing proves ideal in such conditions where you need to test algorithms and data transformations extensively to find the best possible combinations, but you lack the manpower and computer power for it. That’s why, for instance, governments and companies resort to competitions in order to advance in certain fields:
  • On the government side, we can quote DARPA and its many competitions surrounding self-driving cars, robotic operations, machine translation, speaker identification, fingerprint recognition, information retrieval, OCR, automatic target recognition, and many others.
  • On the business side, we can quote a company such as Netflix, which entrusted the outcome of a competition to improve its algorithm for predicting user movie selection.
The Netflix competition was based on the idea of improving existing collaborative filtering. The purpose of this was simply to predict the potential rating a user would give a film, solely based on the ratings that they gave other films, without knowing specifically who the user was or what the films were. Since no user description or movie title or description were available (all being replaced with identity codes), the competition required entrants to develop smart ways to use the past ratings available. The grand prize of US $1,000,000 was to be awarded only if the solution could improve the existing Netflix algorithm, Cinematch, above a certain threshold.
The competition ran from 2006 to 2009 and saw victory for a team made up of the fusion of many previous competition teams: a team from Commendo Research & Consulting GmbH, Andreas Töscher and Michael Jahrer, quite renowned also in Kaggle competitions; two researchers from AT&T Labs; and two others from Yahoo!. In the end, winning the competition required so much computational power and the ensembling of different solut...


  1. Preface
  2. Part I: Introduction to Competitions
  3. Introducing Kaggle and Other Data Science Competitions
  4. Organizing Data with Datasets
  5. Working and Learning with Kaggle Notebooks
  6. Leveraging Discussion Forums
  7. Sharpening Your Skills for Competitions
  8. Competition Tasks and Metrics
  9. Designing Good Validation
  10. Modeling for Tabular Competitions
  11. Hyperparameter Optimization
  12. Ensembling with Blending and Stacking Solutions
  13. Modeling for Computer Vision
  14. Modeling for NLP
  15. Simulation and Optimization Competitions
  16. Leveraging Competitions for Your Career
  17. Creating Your Portfolio of Projects and Ideas
  18. Finding New Professional Opportunities
  19. Other Books You May Enjoy
  20. Index
Estilos de citas para The Kaggle Book

APA 6 Citation

Banachewicz, K., Massaron, L., & Goldbloom, A. (2022). The Kaggle Book (1st ed.). Packt Publishing. Retrieved from (Original work published 2022)

Chicago Citation

Banachewicz, Konrad, Luca Massaron, and Anthony Goldbloom. (2022) 2022. The Kaggle Book. 1st ed. Packt Publishing.

Harvard Citation

Banachewicz, K., Massaron, L. and Goldbloom, A. (2022) The Kaggle Book. 1st edn. Packt Publishing. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Banachewicz, Konrad, Luca Massaron, and Anthony Goldbloom. The Kaggle Book. 1st ed. Packt Publishing, 2022. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.