XGBoost Algorithm: An Easy Overview For 2021

Ajay Ohri


Ever since its release in 2014, XGBoost has been hailed as the golden era of machine learning and hackathons. From forecasting ad click-through rates to classifying high energy physics cases, XGBoost explained its mettle in terms of efficiency and time. Let’s now look into the XGboost algorithm.

  1. What is XGBoost?
  2. How to build an intuition for XGBoost?
  3. Why does XGBoost perform so well?
  4. Future of XGboost

1) What is XGBoost?

Extreme Gradient Boosting is a decision tree dependent on a Machine Learning algorithm used for regression and classification issues. This algorithm creates decision trees such that each subsequent tree attempts to reduce the errors of the previous tree. Each tree updates the residual errors and learns from its predecessor. Hence, the tree that rises next in the series keeps learning from the errors of the previous tree.

The base learners in XGBoost are known as ‘weak learners’, where the predictive capacity is marginally better than random guessing, and the bias is high. Each of the weak learners contributes crucial information for estimation, allowing the boosting technique to generate a strong learner by combining the weak learners. The last good learner takes down both bias and variation. Additionally, in comparison to Random Woodland, in which trees are cultivated to their fullest degree, boosting allows the use of trees with fewer breaks.

2) How to build an intuition for XGBoost?

Decision trees, in their simplest form, are easy to use and visualize the reasonable algorithms by creating intuition for the next-generation of tree-based rules are often a bit tricky. Each and every phase introduces the evolution of tree-based algorithms that can be understood as a variant of the interview process. Let us understand how xgboost algorithm works: 

Decision Tree: Any recruiting manager has a set of necessities experience, education degree, and the results of the exams. A choice of tree analogous is comparable to a recruiting manager interviewing staff supported his or her own criteria.

Bagging: For example, for an interviewer,  an interview panel will be there where each interviewer can vote for the candidate. Bagging or bootstrap aggregating means integrating feedback from all interviewers for the final decision in a representative voting mechanism.

Random Forest: It is the bagging-based rule with the most distinction where solely a set of options is chosen at random. In other words, the interviewer will solely assess the answerer for the chosen credentials.

Boosting: This can be an alternate method wherever every interviewer alters the assessment criterion based on input supported input from the previous interviewer. This ‘boosts’ the performance of the interview process by deploying a more complex assessment process.

Gradient Boosting: Here, mistakes are decreased by gradient descent rule, e.g. the technique practice corporations exploit by victimisation case interviews to separate less eligible applicants. 

XGBoost: It’s an ideal mixture of computer code and hardware optimization methods to yield superior performance with fewer process power within the shortest amount of time, where machine learning starts drifting away from science.

3) Why does XGBoost perform so well?

XGBoost and Gradient Boosting Machines (GBMs) are ensemble tree approaches that implement the idea of boosting weak learners victimisation the gradient descent design. However, XGBoost builds with the bottom of GBM architecture by systems improvement and recursive enhancements.

As per data scientists, we should test all feasible algorithms with data at hand to find the champion algorithm. Besides choosing the correct algorithm, it is also important to know when to use xgboost algorithm. We must also select the correct configuration of the algorithm for a dataset by tuning the hyper-parameters. Furthermore, there are many other requirements for choosing a successful algorithm, such as explainability, computational complexity, and ease of implementation. This is precisely the stage where Machine Learning drifts from science into art, and that’s where the magic happens.

4) Future of XGboost 

Machine Learning is a really active research area, and already there are some feasible alternatives to the XGBoost algorithm. Microsoft Research recently published the LightGBM platform for gradient boosting that shows great promise. CatBoost, built by Yandex Technology, has been producing excellent bench-marking performances. It is a matter of time before we have a better model system that beats XGBoost algorithm in terms of prediction efficiency, versatility, explainability, and pragmatism. However, until a time when a powerful contender comes along, XGBoost will continue to rule over the Machine Learning universe.


So that was all about the mathematics that makes you understand what is XGBoost algorithm. If your fundamentals are solid, this article would have been a breeze for you. It’s such an efficient algorithm, and although there are other strategies that have originated from it (like CATBoost), XGBoost remains a game-changer in the machine learning world.

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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