Basic Introduction To Cross Entropy For Machine Learning (2021)


Lately, Machine Learning or ML has extraordinary examination concerning both academia and the industry and showed its expected strength in broad applications, similar to development predictions, data exploration, and pattern analysis. As recognized for this field, data resources are significant in learning task that gives various structures and formats of data.

  1. What Is Cross Entropy?
  2. Cross Entropy Versus KL Divergence
  3. How to Calculate Cross Entropy
  4. Ascertain Cross Entropy Between Distributions
  5. Cross-Entropy as a Loss Function

1. What Is Cross Entropy?

In information theory, the cross entropy between 2 probability distributions x and y over the similar basic arrangement of occasions measures the normal number of bits expected to recognize an occasion drawn from the set if a coding plan utilized for the set is improved for an expected probability distribution y, as opposed to the genuine distribution x.

  1. More information: Low Probability Event
  2. Less information: Higher Probability Event

Entropy is the number of bits needed to communicate an arbitrarily chose event from a probability distribution.

  1. Low entropy: Skewed Probability Distribution
  2. High entropy: Balanced Probability Distribution
  • Entropy Equation:

I (A) = ∑ q (a) * log 2 (q (a))


  1. I (A) is Entropy, a measure of uncertainty, associated with random variable “A”
  2. q (a) is the probability of occurrence of outcomes “a” of variable “A”
  3. log (q(a)) is information encoded in the outcome “a” of variable “A”
  • Cross entropy formula:

I (A, B) = ∑ q (a) * log 2 (q (b))


  1. I (A, B) is Cross Entropy, a measure of relatedness, associated with random variable “A” and “B”
  2. q (a) is the probability of occurrence of outcomes “a” of variable “A”
  3. q (b) is the probability of occurrence of outcomes “b” of variable “B”
  4. log (q(b)) is information encoded in outcome “b” of variable “B”

The cross entropy method is a Monte Carlo technique for significance optimization and sampling. It is material to both continuous and combinatorial issues, with either a noisy or static objective.

2. Cross Entropy Versus KL Divergence

Cross entropy is identified with divergence measures, for example, the Divergence, KL or Kullback-Leibler that evaluates the amount one distribution varies from another. 

The Kullback-Leibler divergence or relative entropy is an amount that has been created inside the setting of the information theory for estimating similitude between 2 probability density function.

Thusly, the Kullback-Leibler divergence is regularly alluded to as the “relative entropy.” 

  1. Cross Entropy: Average number of absolute bits to address an event from A rather than B.
  2. Relative Entropy: Average number of additional bits to address an event from A rather than B. 

Kullback-Leibler (B || A) = – ∑ B (y) * log (A (y)/B (y))

We can compute the cross-entropy by adding the entropy of the distribution in addition to the Kullback-Leibler divergence. 

I (B, A) = I (B) Kullback-Leibler (B || A)


  1. I (B, A) is the cross-entropy of A from B
  2. I (B) is the entropy of B
  3. Kullback-Leibler (B || A) is the divergence of A from B.

Entropy can be determined for a probability distribution as: 

I (B) = – ∑ Y p(x) * log(p(x)) 

Like Kullback-Leibler divergence, cross entropy isn’t symmetrical, implying that: 

I (B, A)! = I (A, B) 

Both Kullback-Leibler divergence and cross-entropy figure a similar amount when they are utilized as loss functions for streamlining a classification predictive model.

3. How to Calculate Cross Entropy

In this segment, we will figure cross-entropy concrete with a little model. 

Two Discrete Probability Distributions:

Think about a random variable with 3 discrete events in various colours: orange, black, and white. 

We may have 2 diverse probability distributions for this variable; for instance: 

  1. events = [‘orange’, ‘black’, ‘white’]
  2. p = [0.20, 0.35, 0.45]
  3. q = [0.70, 0.20, 0.10]

We can plot a bar graph of these probabilities to think about them straightforwardly as probability histograms.

4. Ascertain Cross Entropy Between Distributions

We can build up a function to ascertain the cross-entropy between the 2 distributions. 

We will utilize log base-2 to guarantee the outcome has units in bits. 

Ascertain cross entropy:

def cross_entropy (q, p)

return – ∑ ([q [i] * log2 (p [i]) for i in range (log (q))])

  • Calculate Cross Entropy Between a Distribution and Itself: 

On the off chance that 2 probability distributions are equivalent, the cross entropy between them will be the entropy of the distribution. 

We can show this by computing the cross-entropy of Q versus Q and P versus P.

5. Cross-Entropy as a Loss Function

Cross entropy is widely utilized as a cross-entropy loss Function while advancing characterization models, for example, algorithms or logistics regression utilized for classification undertakings. 

Cross-entropy loss quantifies the accomplishment of a classification model that gives yield as far as likelihood having values somewhere in the range of ZERO and ONE. It increments as the assessed likelihood strays from the genuine class label. 

In information theory, joint entropy is a proportion of the vulnerability related to a bunch of variables. 

The cross-entropy for a solitary model in a binary cross-entropy loss classification assignment can be begun by unrolling the entirety activity as follows: 

I (B, A) = – (B (class 0) * log (A (class 0)) B (class 1) * log (A (class 1)))

  • Cross-Entropy Versus Log Loss

Cross-entropy and Log loss are marginally unique relying upon the specific situation, however in ML, while ascertaining mistake rates somewhere in the range of ZERO and ONE, they resolve to something very similar.


A pit fire is an example of entropy. The strong wood burns and becomes gases, smoke and ash, all of which spread energy outwards more effectively than the strong fuel.

Cross-entropy can be utilized as a loss function while enhancing grouping models like artificial neural networks and logistic regression.

There are no right or wrong ways of learning AI and ML technologies – the more, the better! These valuable resources can be the starting point for your journey on how to learn Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Do pursuing AI and ML interest you? If you want to step into the world of emerging tech, you can accelerate your career with this Machine Learning And AI Courses by Jigsaw Academy.


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