EZtune is an R package that autotunes support vector machines (SVMs), gradient boosting machines (GBMs), and adaboost models with either a binary or continuous response variable. Other packages on CRAN will tune these models, but they can be difficult to use or are spread across many packages. EZtune was designed to be simple to use, even for a novice R user, while maintaining high performance. EZtune was built using the following principles:

Predetermined hyperparameter space: Extensive grid searches were done to identify hyperparameter spaces where good models are found across many datasets. These hyperparameter spaces are coded into EZtune so the user does not need to provide this information.

Optimization across the hyperparameter space: Optimization algorithms were tested to determine which ones can find a good set of hyperparameters based on model accuracy or mean squared error (MSE). I found that the Hooke-Jeeves algorithm found models with the best accuracy measures and had fast computation time so it is the default optimizer in the package. A genetic algorithm was slower, but also produced good models so it is included as an option.

Fast performance options: EZtune can optimize on the resubstitution, cross-validation, or validation dataset accuracies or MSEs. Optimizing on resubstitution accuracy is only included for completeness because it produces models with poor accuracy and has slow computation time. The best models are obtained using cross-validation accuracy, but the computation time can be slow. The default method is to randomly split the data into a training and test dataset. This often produces models with accuracy as good as those optimized with cross-validation, but with a fraction of the computation time.

Well performing models: Testing showed that both cross-validation and data splitting methods produce a model that had accuracies or MSEs that are close to the best model obtained through an extensive grid search. Computation time is much faster using EZtune than for a grid search. It was found that at least 50% of the data should be used to train the model to obtain good results.

Easy to use: EZtune was designed to be accessible to someone new to R and supervised learning models. The package consists of only two functions

  • eztune: tunes an SVM, GBM, or adaboost model by optimizing classification accuracy or mean squared error (MSE)
  • eztune_cv: computes a cross-validated accuracy rate or MSE for a model computed using eztune.

The following code examples demonstrate how to use the functions.

Tune an SVM using the default fast option and then compute the accuracy with 10-fold cross validation

library(EZtune)
library(mlbench)
data(Sonar)
sonar <- Sonar[sample(1:nrow(Sonar), 100), ]
y <- sonar[, 61]
x <- sonar[, 1:10]

# Optimize an SVM using the default fast setting and Hooke-Jeeves
m1 <- eztune(x, y)
m1$accuracy
## [1] 0.76
# Compute the 10-fold cross-validation accuracy for the model
eztune_cv(x, y, m1)
## [1] 0.61

Tune a GBM using 50 of the data as the training set and compute the accuracy with 10-fold cross validation

# Optimize GBM using training set of 50 observations and Hooke-Jeeves
m2 <- eztune(x, y, method = "gbm", fast = 50)
m2$accuracy
## [1] 0.78
# Compute the 10-fold cross-validation accuracy for the model
eztune_cv(x, y, m2)
## [1] 0.7

Tune an SVM using 25% of the data as a training set and compute the accuracy with 10-fold cross validation

# Optimize SVM with 25% of the observations as a training dataset
# using a genetic algorithm
m3 <- eztune(x, y, method = "svm", optimizer = "ga", fast = 0.25)
m3$accuracy
## [1] 0.76
# Compute the 10-fold cross-validation accuracy for the model
eztune_cv(x, y, m3)
## [1] 0.69