Classify observations in support vector machine (SVM) classifier



label = resubPredict(SVMModel) returns a vector of predicted class labels (label) for the trained support vector machine (SVM) classifier SVMModel using the predictor data SVMModel.X.


[label,Score] = resubPredict(SVMModel) additionally returns class likelihood measures, either scores or posterior probabilities.


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Load the ionosphere data set.

load ionosphere

Train an SVM classifier. Standardize the data and specify that 'g' is the positive class.

SVMModel = fitcsvm(X,Y,'ClassNames',{'b','g'},'Standardize',true);

SVMModel is a ClassificationSVM classifier.

Predict the training sample labels and scores. Display the results for the first 10 observations.

[label,score] = resubPredict(SVMModel);
ans=10×3 table
    TrueLabel    PredictedLabel     Score 
    _________    ______________    _______

      {'g'}          {'g'}          1.4861
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -1.0004
      {'g'}          {'g'}          1.8686
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -2.6458
      {'g'}          {'g'}          1.2805
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -1.4618
      {'g'}          {'g'}          2.1671
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -5.7089
      {'g'}          {'g'}          2.4797
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -2.7813

Load the ionosphere data set.

load ionosphere

Train an SVM classifier. Standardize the data and specify that 'g' is the positive class.

SVMModel = fitcsvm(X,Y,'ClassNames',{'b','g'},'Standardize',true);

SVMModel is a ClassificationSVM classifier.

Fit the optimal score-to-posterior-probability transformation function.

rng(1); % For reproducibility
ScoreSVMModel = fitPosterior(SVMModel)
ScoreSVMModel = 
             ResponseName: 'Y'
    CategoricalPredictors: []
               ClassNames: {'b'  'g'}
           ScoreTransform: '@(S)sigmoid(S,-9.481586e-01,-1.218402e-01)'
          NumObservations: 351
                    Alpha: [90x1 double]
                     Bias: -0.1343
         KernelParameters: [1x1 struct]
                       Mu: [1x34 double]
                    Sigma: [1x34 double]
           BoxConstraints: [351x1 double]
          ConvergenceInfo: [1x1 struct]
          IsSupportVector: [351x1 logical]
                   Solver: 'SMO'

  Properties, Methods

Because the classes are inseparable, the score transformation function (ScoreSVMModel.ScoreTransform) is the sigmoid function.

Estimate scores and positive class posterior probabilities for the training data. Display the results for the first 10 observations.

[label,scores] = resubPredict(SVMModel);
[~,postProbs] = resubPredict(ScoreSVMModel);
ans=10×4 table
    TrueLabel    PredictedLabel     Score     PosteriorProbability
    _________    ______________    _______    ____________________

      {'g'}          {'g'}          1.4861           0.82214      
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -1.0004           0.30434      
      {'g'}          {'g'}          1.8686           0.86916      
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -2.6458          0.084182      
      {'g'}          {'g'}          1.2805           0.79183      
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -1.4618           0.22025      
      {'g'}          {'g'}          2.1671           0.89813      
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -5.7089         0.0050112      
      {'g'}          {'g'}          2.4797           0.92223      
      {'b'}          {'b'}         -2.7813          0.074797      

Input Arguments

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Full, trained SVM classifier, specified as a ClassificationSVM model trained with fitcsvm.

Output Arguments

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Predicted class labels, returned as a categorical or character array, logical or numeric vector, or cell array of character vectors.

The predicted class labels have the following:

  • Same data type as the observed class labels (SVMModel.Y)

  • Length equal to the number of rows in SVMModel.X

For one-class learning, label contains the one class represented in SVMModel.Y.

Predicted class scores or posterior probabilities, returned as a numeric column vector or numeric matrix.

  • For one-class learning, Score is a column vector with the same number of rows as SVMModel.X. The elements are the positive class scores for the corresponding observations. You cannot obtain posterior probabilities for one-class learning.

  • For two-class learning, Score is a two-column matrix with the same number of rows as SVMModel.X.

    • If you fit the optimal score-to-posterior-probability transformation function using fitPosterior or fitSVMPosterior, then Score contains class posterior probabilities. That is, if the value of SVMModel.ScoreTransform is not none, then the first and second columns of Score contain the negative class (SVMModel.ClassNames{1}) and positive class (SVMModel.ClassNames{2}) posterior probabilities for the corresponding observations, respectively.

    • Otherwise, the first column contains the negative class scores and the second column contains the positive class scores for the corresponding observations.

If SVMModel.KernelParameters.Function is 'linear', then the classification score for the observation x is


SVMModel stores β, b, and s in the properties Beta, Bias, and KernelParameters.Scale, respectively.

To estimate classification scores manually, you must first apply any transformations to the predictor data that were applied during training. Specifically, if you specify 'Standardize',true when using fitcsvm, then you must standardize the predictor data manually by using the mean SVMModel.Mu and standard deviation SVMModel.Sigma, and then divide the result by the kernel scale in SVMModel.KernelParameters.Scale.

All SVM functions, such as resubPredict and predict, apply any required transformation before estimation.

If SVMModel.KernelParameters.Function is not 'linear', then Beta is empty ([]).

More About

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Classification Score

The SVM classification score for classifying observation x is the signed distance from x to the decision boundary ranging from -∞ to +∞. A positive score for a class indicates that x is predicted to be in that class. A negative score indicates otherwise.

The positive class classification score f(x) is the trained SVM classification function. f(x) is also the numerical predicted response for x, or the score for predicting x into the positive class.


where (α1,...,αn,b) are the estimated SVM parameters, G(xj,x) is the dot product in the predictor space between x and the support vectors, and the sum includes the training set observations. The negative class classification score for x, or the score for predicting x into the negative class, is –f(x).

If G(xj,x) = xjx (the linear kernel), then the score function reduces to


s is the kernel scale and β is the vector of fitted linear coefficients.

For more details, see Understanding Support Vector Machines.

Posterior Probability

The posterior probability is the probability that an observation belongs in a particular class, given the data.

For SVM, the posterior probability is a function of the score P(s) that observation j is in class k = {-1,1}.

  • For separable classes, the posterior probability is the step function



    • sj is the score of observation j.

    • +1 and –1 denote the positive and negative classes, respectively.

    • π is the prior probability that an observation is in the positive class.

  • For inseparable classes, the posterior probability is the sigmoid function


    where the parameters A and B are the slope and intercept parameters, respectively.

Prior Probability

The prior probability of a class is the assumed relative frequency with which observations from that class occur in a population.


  • If you are using a linear SVM model for classification and the model has many support vectors, then using resubPredict for the prediction method can be slow. To efficiently classify observations based on a linear SVM model, remove the support vectors from the model object by using discardSupportVectors.


  • By default and irrespective of the model kernel function, MATLAB® uses the dual representation of the score function to classify observations based on trained SVM models, specifically


    This prediction method requires the trained support vectors and α coefficients (see the SupportVectors and Alpha properties of the SVM model).

  • By default, the software computes optimal posterior probabilities using Platt’s method [1]:

    1. Perform 10-fold cross-validation.

    2. Fit the sigmoid function parameters to the scores returned from the cross-validation.

    3. Estimate the posterior probabilities by entering the cross-validation scores into the fitted sigmoid function.

  • The software incorporates prior probabilities in the SVM objective function during training.

  • For SVM, predict and resubPredict classify observations into the class yielding the largest score (the largest posterior probability). The software accounts for misclassification costs by applying the average-cost correction before training the classifier. That is, given the class prior vector P, misclassification cost matrix C, and observation weight vector w, the software defines a new vector of observation weights (W) such that



[1] Platt, J. “Probabilistic outputs for support vector machines and comparisons to regularized likelihood methods.” Advances in Large Margin Classifiers. MIT Press, 1999, pp. 61–74.

Introduced in R2014a