# Loss Function

Quantifies the difference between the predicted values by a model and the actual values, serving as a guide for model optimization.

In the context of neural networks and broader machine learning paradigms, a loss function, also known as a cost function, is a critical component that measures the discrepancy between the predicted output of the model and the actual target data. This function is at the heart of the training process, providing a metric that optimization algorithms, like gradient descent, use to adjust the model's parameters (e.g., weights in neural networks) with the aim of minimizing this discrepancy. The choice of a loss function depends on the specific type of problem being addressed (e.g., regression, classification) and can significantly influence the model's performance and its ability to generalize from training data to unseen data.

The concept of a loss function has been integral to statistics and decision theory for centuries, but its application in the context of machine learning and neural networks gained prominence with the development of perceptrons in the 1950s and later with the backpropagation algorithm in the 1980s.

While the concept of minimizing a cost to optimize decisions is ancient, key contributors to the development and application of loss functions in AI include Frank Rosenblatt, who invented the perceptron, and the team of David E. Rumelhart, Geoffrey E. Hinton, and Ronald J. Williams, who were instrumental in popularizing backpropagation for training neural networks.

### Explainer

# Loss Function Explorer

The loss function measures how far our prediction is from the target value.