Receiver Operating Characteristic

In signal detection theory, a receiver operating characteristic (ROC), or simply ROC curve, is a graphical plot which illustrates the performance of a binary classifier system as its discrimination threshold is varied. It is created by plotting the fraction of true positives out of the positives (TPR = true positive rate) vs. the fraction of false positives out of the negatives (FPR = false positive rate), at various threshold settings. TPR is also known as sensitivity, and FPR is one minus the specificity or true negative rate.

ROC analysis provides tools to select possibly optimal models and to discard suboptimal ones independently from (and prior to specifying) the cost context or the class distribution. ROC analysis is related in a direct and natural way to cost/benefit analysis of diagnostic decision making. The ROC curve was first developed by electrical engineers and radar engineers during World War II for detecting enemy objects in battlefields and was soon introduced to psychology to account for perceptual detection of stimuli. ROC analysis since then has been used in medicine, radiology, biometrics, and other areas for many decades and is increasingly used in machine learning and data mining research.

The ROC is also known as a relative operating characteristic curve, because it is a comparison of two operating characteristics (TPR and FPR) as the criterion changes.

Read more about Receiver Operating Characteristic:  Basic Concept, ROC Space, Curves in ROC Space, Further Interpretations, Detection Error Tradeoff Graph, Z-transformation, History

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