Cross Validation

The cross validation function of xgboost

xgb.cv(params = list(), data, nrounds, nfold, label = NULL,
  missing = NA, prediction = FALSE, showsd = TRUE,
  metrics = list(), obj = NULL, feval = NULL, stratified = TRUE,
  folds = NULL, verbose = TRUE, print_every_n = 1L,
  early_stopping_rounds = NULL, maximize = NULL, callbacks = list(),

the list of parameters. Commonly used ones are:

  • objective objective function, common ones are

    • reg:linear linear regression

    • binary:logistic logistic regression for classification

  • eta step size of each boosting step

  • max_depth maximum depth of the tree

  • nthread number of thread used in training, if not set, all threads are used

See xgb.train for further details. See also demo/ for walkthrough example in R.


takes an xgb.DMatrix, matrix, or dgCMatrix as the input.


the max number of iterations


the original dataset is randomly partitioned into nfold equal size subsamples.


vector of response values. Should be provided only when data is an R-matrix.


is only used when input is a dense matrix. By default is set to NA, which means that NA values should be considered as 'missing' by the algorithm. Sometimes, 0 or other extreme value might be used to represent missing values.


A logical value indicating whether to return the test fold predictions from each CV model. This parameter engages the cb.cv.predict callback.


boolean, whether to show standard deviation of cross validation


list of evaluation metrics to be used in cross validation, when it is not specified, the evaluation metric is chosen according to objective function. Possible options are:

  • error binary classification error rate

  • rmse Rooted mean square error

  • logloss negative log-likelihood function

  • auc Area under curve

  • aucpr Area under PR curve

  • merror Exact matching error, used to evaluate multi-class classification


customized objective function. Returns gradient and second order gradient with given prediction and dtrain.


custimized evaluation function. Returns list(metric='metric-name', value='metric-value') with given prediction and dtrain.


a boolean indicating whether sampling of folds should be stratified by the values of outcome labels.


list provides a possibility to use a list of pre-defined CV folds (each element must be a vector of test fold's indices). When folds are supplied, the nfold and stratified parameters are ignored.


boolean, print the statistics during the process


Print each n-th iteration evaluation messages when verbose>0. Default is 1 which means all messages are printed. This parameter is passed to the cb.print.evaluation callback.


If NULL, the early stopping function is not triggered. If set to an integer k, training with a validation set will stop if the performance doesn't improve for k rounds. Setting this parameter engages the cb.early.stop callback.


If feval and early_stopping_rounds are set, then this parameter must be set as well. When it is TRUE, it means the larger the evaluation score the better. This parameter is passed to the cb.early.stop callback.


a list of callback functions to perform various task during boosting. See callbacks. Some of the callbacks are automatically created depending on the parameters' values. User can provide either existing or their own callback methods in order to customize the training process.


other parameters to pass to params.


The original sample is randomly partitioned into nfold equal size subsamples.

Of the nfold subsamples, a single subsample is retained as the validation data for testing the model, and the remaining nfold - 1 subsamples are used as training data.

The cross-validation process is then repeated nrounds times, with each of the nfold subsamples used exactly once as the validation data.

All observations are used for both training and validation.

Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-validation_%28statistics%29#k-fold_cross-validation


An object of class xgb.cv.synchronous with the following elements:

  • call a function call.

  • params parameters that were passed to the xgboost library. Note that it does not capture parameters changed by the cb.reset.parameters callback.

  • callbacks callback functions that were either automatically assigned or explicitly passed.

  • evaluation_log evaluation history storead as a data.table with the first column corresponding to iteration number and the rest corresponding to the CV-based evaluation means and standard deviations for the training and test CV-sets. It is created by the cb.evaluation.log callback.

  • niter number of boosting iterations.

  • nfeatures number of features in training data.

  • folds the list of CV folds' indices - either those passed through the folds parameter or randomly generated.

  • best_iteration iteration number with the best evaluation metric value (only available with early stopping).

  • best_ntreelimit the ntreelimit value corresponding to the best iteration, which could further be used in predict method (only available with early stopping).

  • pred CV prediction values available when prediction is set. It is either vector or matrix (see cb.cv.predict).

  • models a liost of the CV folds' models. It is only available with the explicit setting of the cb.cv.predict(save_models = TRUE) callback.

  • xgb.cv
data(agaricus.train, package='xgboost')
dtrain <- xgb.DMatrix(agaricus.train$data, label = agaricus.train$label)
cv <- xgb.cv(data = dtrain, nrounds = 3, nthread = 2, nfold = 5, metrics = list("rmse","auc"),
                  max_depth = 3, eta = 1, objective = "binary:logistic")
print(cv, verbose=TRUE)

# }
Documentation reproduced from package xgboost, version 0.82.1, License: Apache License (== 2.0) | file LICENSE

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