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I have a an assignment to make a classifier for hand-written numbers with a limited data set of 500 samples. I am currently using python, I tried sklearn SVC with linear classifier and I got an accuracy of about 80%. I also tried KNN with 13 neighbors and got a max of 81% accuracy. I need to get to at least 90% accuracy. What are your suggestions that would help with training (adding noise? what distribution? / tilting the pictures with 90 degrees? Maybe cross validating over different parameters... etc).

Edit: To clarify the main challenge: I have to reach an accuracy of more that 90% with only using 500 samples, I can play around with the samples however I want to extend the data but I am not allowed to use external samples.

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  • $\begingroup$ Try an SVM with a Gaussian instead of a linear kernel. $\endgroup$ – Yuval Filmus Jan 22 '17 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ I used rbf kernel, and did cross-validation over different values of C and gamma, but the accuracy stayed low. Linear kernel gave the highest accuracy but capped at 80%. $\endgroup$ – zixmarkiz Jan 22 '17 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Have you read the literature on classifiers for handwritten digits using MNIST? There are dozens of papers, which a quick websearch can turn up, which describe a variety of techniques. Also, please edit the question with clarifications rather than leaving them in the comments -- we want questions to stand on their own, so people don't have to read the comments to understand the question and what approaches you've already tried. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Jan 23 '17 at 2:03
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I suggest you the following:

  1. Adding a little bit of noise such as blurring
  2. Transforming the images. You can rotate or stretch a bit, but make sure you don't change too much to change 6 to 9 or o to 0.

You can look at the following tutorials:

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