An empirical assessment of different kernel functions on the performance of support vector machines

Isaac Kofi Nti, Owusu Nyarko-Boateng, Felix Adebayo Adekoya, Benjamin Asubam Weyori


Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have influenced every part of our day-to-day activities in this era of technological advancement, making a living more comfortable on the earth. Among the several AI and ML algorithms, the support vector machine (SVM) has become one of the most generally used algorithms for data mining, prediction and other (AI and ML) activities in several domains. The SVM’s performance is significantly centred on the kernel function (KF); nonetheless, there is no universal accepted ground for selecting an optimal KF for a specific domain. In this paper, we investigate empirically different KFs on the SVM performance in various fields. We illustrated the performance of the SVM based on different KF through extensive experimental results. Our empirical results show that no single KF is always suitable for achieving high accuracy and generalisation in all domains. However, the gaussian radial basis function (RBF) kernel is often the default choice. Also, if the KF parameters of the RBF and exponential RBF are optimised, they outperform the linear and sigmoid KF based SVM method in terms of accuracy. Besides, the linear KF is more suitable for the linearly separable dataset.


Gaussian radial basis function; Kernel function; Machine learning; Support vector machine

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