# Python-package Introduction¶

This document gives a basic walkthrough of LightGBM Python-package.

**List of other helpful links**

## Install¶

Install Python-package dependencies,
`setuptools`

, `wheel`

, `numpy`

and `scipy`

are required, `scikit-learn`

is required for sklearn interface and recommended:

```
pip install setuptools wheel numpy scipy scikit-learn -U
```

Refer to Python-package folder for the installation guide.

To verify your installation, try to `import lightgbm`

in Python:

```
import lightgbm as lgb
```

## Data Interface¶

The LightGBM Python module can load data from:

- LibSVM (zero-based) / TSV / CSV / TXT format file
- NumPy 2D array(s), pandas DataFrame, H2O DataTable’s Frame, SciPy sparse matrix
- LightGBM binary file

The data is stored in a `Dataset`

object.

Many of the examples in this page use functionality from `numpy`

. To run the examples, be sure to import `numpy`

in your session.

```
import numpy as np
```

**To load a LibSVM (zero-based) text file or a LightGBM binary file into Dataset:**

```
train_data = lgb.Dataset('train.svm.bin')
```

**To load a numpy array into Dataset:**

```
data = np.random.rand(500, 10) # 500 entities, each contains 10 features
label = np.random.randint(2, size=500) # binary target
train_data = lgb.Dataset(data, label=label)
```

**To load a scipy.sparse.csr_matrix array into Dataset:**

```
import scipy
csr = scipy.sparse.csr_matrix((dat, (row, col)))
train_data = lgb.Dataset(csr)
```

**Saving Dataset into a LightGBM binary file will make loading faster:**

```
train_data = lgb.Dataset('train.svm.txt')
train_data.save_binary('train.bin')
```

**Create validation data:**

```
validation_data = train_data.create_valid('validation.svm')
```

or

```
validation_data = lgb.Dataset('validation.svm', reference=train_data)
```

In LightGBM, the validation data should be aligned with training data.

**Specific feature names and categorical features:**

```
train_data = lgb.Dataset(data, label=label, feature_name=['c1', 'c2', 'c3'], categorical_feature=['c3'])
```

LightGBM can use categorical features as input directly. It doesn’t need to convert to one-hot coding, and is much faster than one-hot coding (about 8x speed-up).

**Note**: You should convert your categorical features to `int`

type before you construct `Dataset`

.

**Weights can be set when needed:**

```
w = np.random.rand(500, )
train_data = lgb.Dataset(data, label=label, weight=w)
```

or

```
train_data = lgb.Dataset(data, label=label)
w = np.random.rand(500, )
train_data.set_weight(w)
```

And you can use `Dataset.set_init_score()`

to set initial score, and `Dataset.set_group()`

to set group/query data for ranking tasks.

**Memory efficient usage:**

The `Dataset`

object in LightGBM is very memory-efficient, it only needs to save discrete bins.
However, Numpy/Array/Pandas object is memory expensive.
If you are concerned about your memory consumption, you can save memory by:

- Set
`free_raw_data=True`

(default is`True`

) when constructing the`Dataset`

- Explicitly set
`raw_data=None`

after the`Dataset`

has been constructed - Call
`gc`

## Setting Parameters¶

LightGBM can use a dictionary to set Parameters. For instance:

Booster parameters:

param = {'num_leaves': 31, 'objective': 'binary'} param['metric'] = 'auc'

You can also specify multiple eval metrics:

param['metric'] = ['auc', 'binary_logloss']

## Training¶

Training a model requires a parameter list and data set:

```
num_round = 10
bst = lgb.train(param, train_data, num_round, valid_sets=[validation_data])
```

After training, the model can be saved:

```
bst.save_model('model.txt')
```

The trained model can also be dumped to JSON format:

```
json_model = bst.dump_model()
```

A saved model can be loaded:

```
bst = lgb.Booster(model_file='model.txt') # init model
```

## Early Stopping¶

If you have a validation set, you can use early stopping to find the optimal number of boosting rounds.
Early stopping requires at least one set in `valid_sets`

. If there is more than one, it will use all of them except the training data:

```
bst = lgb.train(param, train_data, num_round, valid_sets=valid_sets, early_stopping_rounds=5)
bst.save_model('model.txt', num_iteration=bst.best_iteration)
```

The model will train until the validation score stops improving.
Validation score needs to improve at least every `early_stopping_rounds`

to continue training.

The index of iteration that has the best performance will be saved in the `best_iteration`

field if early stopping logic is enabled by setting `early_stopping_rounds`

.
Note that `train()`

will return a model from the best iteration.

This works with both metrics to minimize (L2, log loss, etc.) and to maximize (NDCG, AUC, etc.).
Note that if you specify more than one evaluation metric, all of them will be used for early stopping.
However, you can change this behavior and make LightGBM check only the first metric for early stopping by passing `first_metric_only=True`

in `param`

or `early_stopping`

callback constructor.

## Prediction¶

A model that has been trained or loaded can perform predictions on datasets:

```
# 7 entities, each contains 10 features
data = np.random.rand(7, 10)
ypred = bst.predict(data)
```

If early stopping is enabled during training, you can get predictions from the best iteration with `bst.best_iteration`

:

```
ypred = bst.predict(data, num_iteration=bst.best_iteration)
```