Recently I'm studying machine learning algorithms among them linear regression and decision tree so I have a question regarding the scalability of both algorithms. Can anyone provide what is the scalability of both algorithms and examples?

  • $\begingroup$ What exactly do you mean when you say "scaleability"? $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


If you use the standard OLS formula :

$$ \beta = (X^TX)^{-1}X^Ty$$

the overall linear regression complexity is $O(np^2)$, where n is the number of exemple and p the number of features.

For simple trees the theoretical complexity if of the same order $O(np^2)$.

In practice other techniques are used, like gradient descent for the regression. Also you may have simplifications depending on your problem ($n>>p$ for exemple, may lead to the use of sparse matrices).

Practical implementation like sklearn have following complexities (see https://www.thekerneltrip.com/machine/learning/computational-complexity-learning-algorithms/):

LinearRegression : $O(n^{0.72}p^{1.3})$

ExtraTreesRegressor: $O(n^{1.03}p^{0.88})$

Overall they are relatively simple algos and thus are pretty much as scalable as you can get. (or conversely we wouldn't use algorithms that are not scalable)

  • $\begingroup$ Good explanation for the performance part. What about prediction capability. Please also add that point. $\endgroup$
    – 10xAI
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ It’s an entirely different question than what was asked. There is no general answer as prediction capabilities entirely depends on your problem / data set. Intuitively they are the simplest models so their prediction capability is expected to be lower than other models. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 5:58

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