I am editing a paper on machine learning techniques employed to predict study outcomes and I am not sure if the machine learning techniques should be capitlized or not. Consider the following examples:

Of all presented decision trees, the Bagging Random Forest, which is a combination of the random forest and bagging, achieved the highest forecasting accuracy in predicting study outcomes. Accordingly, the Bagging Random Forest will be used in the Adaptive Boosting algorithm - and not all decision tree algorithms presented above. The results of all presented decision trees in comparison can be found in Tables 5a and 5b.

I've read different rules on nouns and proper nouns, and I know the general rule; unfortunately, I find that the English language is riddled with inconsistencies (in practice). Eg. 'pine' is the name of a type of tree, as such it is a proper noun, but I have never seen it--mid-sentence--capitlized.

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  • 2
    Do what other people do. – Mitch Dec 28 '17 at 13:45
  • @BufferOverRead: what is a GAN? – Michael Perdue Dec 28 '17 at 13:46
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    What @Mitch said. But be consistent. Your first example clumsily switches from capitalised Bagging Random Forest to combination of the random forest and bagging mid-sentence. – FumbleFingers Dec 28 '17 at 13:49
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    1) 'pine' is not a proper noun (look up the definition of 'proper noun'). 2) GAN = Generative Adversarial Network, an ML architecture haha irony. – Mitch Dec 28 '17 at 13:53
  • 1
    To add to what @Mitch said, you might think "Pine is a name, and names of things are proper nouns", but the convention is that types of animal and plant are not capitalized, but formal (ie latinized) species, family and genus names are capitalized. Thus, the word "pines" describes a group of species of tree (the Pinacea family) which includes Pinus sylvestris for example. In this way, "pine" is like saying "lion" or "tiger". You wouldn't write "Suddenly, a Lion walked into the clearing". – Max Williams Dec 28 '17 at 14:11

These are specific types of algorithms so they should be capitalized, and as @FumbleFingers suggests, be consistent. However, you should not capitalize the terms when they are used as verbs.

  • When bagging with decision trees, we are less concerned about individual trees overfitting the training data. (verb)

  • As such, even with Bagging, the decision trees can have a lot of structural similarities and in turn have high correlation in their predictions. (proper noun)

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