Difference Between Generative and Discriminative Model

The two primary machine learning paradigms i.e -generative and discriminative models, both are widely applied in a variety of fields. To put it another way, discriminative models concentrate on modeling the border that divides several classes of data, whereas generative models seek to capture the underlying distribution of the data. Data scientists and machine learning experts must be aware of the distinctions between these two types of models in order to select the best model for a certain job. Moreover, discriminative models are frequently employed in tasks like classification and regression, despite the fact that generative models have lately become more well-liked due to their capacity to produce new data that closely mimics the distribution of the original data.

What is a Generative Model?

Generative models are a type of machine learning model that aims to capture the data's underlying distribution and produce new data that is comparable to the original data. In contrast to discriminative models, which simulate the conditional probability of the output given the input, generative models simulate the joint probability distribution of the input and output. By taking samples from the previously learned probability distribution, generative models can produce fresh data samples. Generative models include variational autoencoders (VAEs), generative adversarial networks (GANs), and limited Boltzmann machines (RBMs). Anomaly detection, speech synthesis, and picture and text production are just a few applications that frequently employ generative models.

What is a Discriminative Modal?

Discriminative models are a sort of machine learning model that seeks to understand the boundaries between different types of data. Discriminative models directly represent the conditional probability of the output given the input, in contrast to generative models, which model the combined probability distribution of the input and output. Logistic regression, support vector machines (SVMs), and decision trees are a few examples of discriminative models. Applications like as classification, regression, and anomaly detection frequently employ discriminative models. In classification tasks, where the objective is to accurately assign input data to a specific category, discriminative models frequently perform better than generative models because they concentrate on modeling the boundary between classes.

Generative Vs Discriminative Model

Generative Model

Discriminative Model

The basic goal of a generative model is to generate fresh data and to understand the probability distribution of the input.

Data classification into distinct categories is the main objective of a discriminative model.

A large amount of input data is required for generative models in order to learn the probability distribution.

Labeled input data are necessary for discriminative models in order to learn where one category ends and another begins.

The original data distribution and the fresh data created by generative models are similar.

An output label from discriminative models identifies the kind of input data.

Generative models are more challenging to construct than discriminative models since knowing the probability distribution of the data is necessary.

Discriminative models are easier to create since they simply need to understand where one category ends and another begins.

New data points that are produced by generative models can resemble the original data distribution.

Due to their ability to recognize the boundaries between many categories, discriminative models perform better in classification tasks.

The usage of generative models is common in voice and picture recognition software.

In classification tasks like voice and picture recognition, discriminative models are frequently employed.

Unlabeled data can be analyzed by generative models to discover the probability distribution of the data.

Labeled data are necessary for discriminative models to learn where one category ends and another begins.

As generative models learn the probability distribution of the data, they are vulnerable to overfitting.

As discriminative models simply need to learn the border between several categories, they are less susceptible to overfitting.


It is crucial to comprehend the distinctions between generative and discriminative models for a number of reasons. The first benefit is that it can aid machine learning experts in choosing the best strategy to employ for a particular issue. Examples include classification and regression tasks, where discriminative models are widely used, and applications that create text and graphics, where generative models are frequently used. Second, knowing these models helps practitioners be more aware of the limitations and underlying presumptions of each approach. Lastly, practitioners can combine these methods in fresh ways to improve the performance of machine learning systems by discriminating between generative and discriminative models. Last but not least, staying current on these two strategies can assist machine learning practitioners to stay ahead of the most recent innovations and industry best practices.

Updated on: 25-Apr-2023


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