Support Vector Machines and Kernel Methods: The New Generation of Learning Machines

  • Nello Cristianini
  • Bernhard Scholkopf


Kernel methods, a new generation of learning algorithms, utilize techniques from optimization, statistics, and functional analysis to achieve maximal generality, flexibility, and performance. These algorithms are different from earlier techniques used in machine learning in many respects: For example, they are explicitly based on a theoretical model of learning rather than on loose analogies with natural learning systems or other heuristics. They come with theoretical guarantees about their performance and have a modular design that makes it possible to separately implement and analyze their components. They are not affected by the problem of local minima because their training amounts to convex optimization. In the last decade, a sizable community of theoreticians and practitioners has formed around these methods, and a number of practical applications have been realized. Although the research is not concluded, already now kernel methods are considered the state of the art in several machine learning tasks. Their ease of use, theoretical appeal, and remarkable performance have made them the system of choice for many learning problems. Successful applications range from text categorization to handwriting recognition to classification of geneexpression data.
How to Cite
Cristianini, N., & Scholkopf, B. (2002). Support Vector Machines and Kernel Methods: The New Generation of Learning Machines. AI Magazine, 23(3), 31.