One more exciting visualization has been introduced to Orange – a Nomogram. In general, nomograms are graphical devices that can approximate the calculation of some function. A Nomogram widget in Orange visualizes Logistic Regression and Naive Bayes classification models, and compute the class probabilities given a set of attributes values. In the nomogram, we can check how changing of the attribute values affect the class probabilities, and since the widget (like widgets in Orange) is interactive, we can do this on the fly.

So, how does it work? First, feed the Nomogram a classification model, say, Logistic Regression. We will use the Titanic survival data that comes with Orange for this example (in File widget, choose “Browse documentation datasets”).

In the nomogram, we see the top ranked attributes and how much they contribute to the target class. Seems like a male third class adult had a much lower survival rate than did female first class child.

The first box show the target class, in our case survived=no. The second box shows the most important attribute, sex, and its contribution to the probability of the target class (more for male, almost 0 for female). The final box shows the total probability of the target class for the selected values of attributes (blue dots).

The most important attribute, however, seems to be ‘sex’, where the chance for survival (target class = no) is lower for males than it is for females. How do I know? Grab the blue dot over the attribute and drag it from ‘male’ to ‘female’. The total probability for dying on Titanic (survived=no) drops from 89% to 43%.

The same goes for all the other attributes – you can interactively explore how much a certain value contributes to the probability of a selected target class.

But it gets even better! Instead of dragging the blue dots in the nomogram, you can feed it the data. In the workflow below, we pass the data through the Data Table widget and then feed the selected data instance to the Nomogram. The Nomogram would then show what is the probability of the target class for this particular instance, and it would “explain” what are the magnitudes of contributions of individual attribute values.

This makes Nomogram a great widget for understanding the model and for interactive data exploration.

Visualizing Gradient Descent

This is a guest blog from the Google Summer of Code project.


Gradient Descent was implemented as a part of my Google Summer of Code project and it is available in the Orange3-Educational add-on. It simulates gradient descent for either Logistic or Linear regression, depending on the type of the input data. Gradient descent is iterative approach to optimize model parameters that minimize the cost function. In machine learning, the cost function corresponds to prediction error when the model is used on the training data set.

Gradient Descent widget takes data on input and outputs the model and its coefficients.


The widget displays the value of the cost function given two parameters of the model. For linear regression, we consider feature from the training set with the parameters being the intercept and the slope. For logistic regression, the widget considers two feature and their associated multiplicative parameters, setting the intercept to zero. Screenshot bellow shows gradient descent on a Iris data set, where we consider petal length and sepal width on the input and predict the probability that iris comes from the family of Iris versicolor.


  1. The type of the model used (either Logistic regression or Linear regression)
  2. Input features (one for X and one for Y axis) and the target class
  3. Learning rate is the step size of the gradient descent
  4. In a single iteration step, stochastic approach considers only a single data instance (instead of entire training set). Convergence in terms of iterations steps is slower, and we can instruct the widget to display the progress of optimization only after given number of steps (Step size)
  5. Step through the algorithm (steps can be reverted with step back button)
  6. Run optimization until convergence


Following shows gradient descent for linear regression using The Boston Housing Data Set when trying to predict the median value of a house given its age.


On the left we use the regular and on the right the stochastic gradient descent. While the regular descent goes straight to the target, the path of stochastic is not as smooth.

We can use the widget to simulate some dangerous, unwanted behavior of gradient descent. The following screenshots show two extreme cases with too high learning rate where optimization function never converges, and a low learning rate where convergence is painfully slow.


The two problems as illustrated above are the reason that many implementations of numerical optimization use adaptive learning rates. We can simulate this in the widget by modifying the learning rate for each step of the optimization.