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Select Data for Regression or Open Saved App Session

When you first launch the Regression Learner app, you can choose to import data or to open a previously saved app session. To import data, see Select Data from Workspace and Import Data from File. To open a saved session, see Save and Open App Session.

Select Data from Workspace


In Regression Learner, tables are the easiest way to work with your data, because they can contain numeric and label data. Use the Import Tool to bring your data into the MATLAB® workspace as a table, or use the table functions to create a table from workspace variables. See Tables.

  1. Load your data into the MATLAB workspace.

    Predictor variables can be numeric, categorical, string, or logical vectors, cell arrays of character vectors, or character arrays. The response variable must be a floating-point vector (single or double precision).

    Combine the predictor data into one variable, either a table or a matrix. You can additionally combine your predictor data and response variable, or you can keep them separate.

    For example data sets, see Example Data for Regression.

  2. On the Apps tab, click Regression Learner to open the app.

  3. On the Learn tab, in the File section, click New Session > From Workspace.

  4. In the New Session from Workspace dialog box, under Data Set Variable, select a table or matrix from the workspace variables.

    If you select a matrix, choose whether to use rows or columns for observations by clicking the option buttons.

  5. Under Response, observe the default response variable. The app tries to select a suitable response variable from the data set variable and treats all other variables as predictors.

    If you want to use a different response variable, you can:

    • Use the list to select another variable from the data set variable.

    • Select a separate workspace variable by clicking the From workspace option button and then selecting a variable from the list.

  6. Under Predictors, add or remove predictors using the check boxes. Add or remove all predictors by clicking Add All or Remove All. You can also add or remove multiple predictors by selecting them in the table, and then clicking Add N or Remove N, where N is the number of selected predictors. The Add All and Remove All buttons change to Add N and Remove N when you select multiple predictors.

  7. Click Start Session to accept the default validation scheme and continue. The default validation option is 5-fold cross-validation, which protects against overfitting.


    If you have a large data set, you might want to switch to holdout validation. To learn more, see Choose Validation Scheme.


If you prefer loading data into the app directly from the command line, you can specify the predictor data, response variable, and validation type to use in Regression Learner in the command line call to regressionLearner. For more information, see Regression Learner.

For next steps, see Train Regression Models in Regression Learner App.

Import Data from File

  1. On the Learn tab, in the File section, select New Session > From File.

  2. Select a file type in the list, such as spreadsheets, text files, or comma-separated values (.csv) files, or select All Files to browse for other file types such as .dat.

Example Data for Regression

To get started using Regression Learner, try these example data sets.

CarsNumber of predictors: 7
Number of observations: 406
Response: MPG (miles per gallon)

Data on different car models, 1970–1982. Predict the fuel economy (in miles per gallon), or one of the other characteristics.

For a step-by-step example, see Train Regression Trees Using Regression Learner App.

Create a table from variables in the carbig data set.

load carbig
cartable = table(Acceleration,Cylinders,Displacement, ...

HospitalNumber of predictors: 5
Number of observations: 100
Response: Diastolic

Simulated hospital data. Predict the diastolic blood pressure of patients.

Create a table from variables in the patients data set.

load patients
hospitaltable = table(Gender,Age,Weight,Smoker,Systolic, ...

Choose Validation Scheme

Choose a validation method to examine the predictive accuracy of the fitted models. Validation estimates model performance on new data, and helps you choose the best model. Validation protects against overfitting. A model that is too flexible and suffers from overfitting has a worse validation accuracy. Choose a validation scheme before training any models so that you can compare all the models in your session using the same validation scheme.


Try the default validation scheme and click Start Session to continue. The default option is 5-fold cross-validation, which protects against overfitting.

If you have a large data set and training the models takes too long using cross-validation, reimport your data and try the faster holdout validation instead.

Assume that no data is reserved for testing, which is true by default.

  • Cross-Validation: Select the number of folds (or divisions) to partition the data set.

    If you choose k folds, then the app:

    1. Partitions the data into k disjoint sets or folds

    2. For each validation fold:

      1. Trains a model using the training-fold observations (observations not in the validation fold)

      2. Assesses model performance using validation-fold data

    3. Calculates the average validation error over all folds

    This method gives a good estimate of the predictive accuracy of the final model trained using the full data set. The method requires multiple fits, but makes efficient use of all the data, so it works well for small data sets.

  • Holdout Validation: Select a percentage of the data to use as a validation set. The app trains a model on the training set and assesses its performance with the validation set. The model used for validation is based on only a portion of the data, so holdout validation is appropriate only for large data sets. The final model is trained using the full data set.

  • Resubstitution Validation: No protection against overfitting. The app uses all the data for training and computes the error rate on the same data. Without any separate validation data, you get an unrealistic estimate of the model’s performance on new data. That is, the training sample accuracy is likely to be unrealistically high, and the predictive accuracy is likely to be lower.

    To help you avoid overfitting to the training data, choose another validation scheme instead.


The validation scheme only affects the way that Regression Learner computes validation metrics. The final model is always trained using the full data set, excluding any data reserved for testing.

All the models you train after selecting data use the same validation scheme that you select in this dialog box. You can compare all the models in your session using the same validation scheme.

To change the validation selection and train new models, you can select data again, but you lose any trained models. The app warns you that importing data starts a new session. Save any trained models you want to keep to the workspace, and then import the data.

For next steps training models, see Train Regression Models in Regression Learner App.

(Optional) Reserve Data for Testing

When you import data into Regression Learner, you can specify to reserve a percentage of the data for testing. In the Test section of the New Session dialog box, click the check box to set aside a test data set. Specify the percentage of the imported data to use as a test set. If you prefer, you can still choose to import a separate test data set after starting an app session.

You can use the test set to evaluate the performance of a trained model. In particular, you can check whether the validation metrics provide good estimates for the model performance on new data. For more information, see Evaluate Test Set Model Performance. For an example, see Train Regression Model Using Hyperparameter Optimization in Regression Learner App.


The app does not use test data for model training. Models exported from the app are trained on the full training and validation data, excluding any data reserved for testing.

Save and Open App Session

In Regression Learner, you can save the current app session and open a previously saved app session.

  • To save the current app session, click Save in the File section of the Learn tab. When you first save the current session, you must specify the session file name and the file location. The Save Session option saves the current session, and the Save Session As option saves the current session to a new file. The Save Compact Session As option saves a compact version of the current app session, resulting in a smaller file size for the saved session. Note that the Save Compact Session As option permanently deletes the training data from all trained models in the current session.

  • To open a saved app session, click Open in the File section. In the Select File to Open dialog box, select the saved session you want to open.

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