Machine learning is an area of artificial intelligence involving developing techniques to allow computers to "learn". More specifically, machine learning is a method for creating computer programs by the analysis of data sets, rather than the intuition of engineers.

Machine learning algorithms are organized into a taxonomy, based on the desired outcome of the algorithm. Common algorithm types include:

  • supervised learning --- where the algorithm generates a function that maps inputs to desired outputs.
  • unsupervised learning --- where the algorithm generates a model for a set of inputs.
  • reinforcement learning --- where the algorithm learns a policy of how to act given an observation of the world.
  • learning to learn --- where the algorithm learns its own inductive bias based on previous experience.

The analysis of machine learning algorithms is a branch of statistics known as learning theory.