Python Package Introduction
This document gives a basic walkthrough of the xgboost package for Python. The Python package is consisted of 3 different interfaces, including native interface, scikitlearn interface and dask interface. For introduction to dask interface please see Distributed XGBoost with Dask.
List of other Helpful Links
Contents
Install XGBoost
To install XGBoost, follow instructions in Installation Guide.
To verify your installation, run the following in Python:
import xgboost as xgb
Data Interface
The XGBoost Python module is able to load data from many different types of data format including both CPU and GPU data structures. For a complete list of supported data types, please reference the Supported data structures for various XGBoost functions. For a detailed description of text input formats, please visit Text Input Format of DMatrix.
The input data is stored in a DMatrix
object. For the sklearn estimator interface, a DMatrix
or a QuantileDMatrix
is created depending on the chosen algorithm and the input, see the sklearn API reference for details. We will illustrate some of the basic input types with the DMatrix
here.
To load a NumPy array into
DMatrix
:data = np.random.rand(5, 10) # 5 entities, each contains 10 features label = np.random.randint(2, size=5) # binary target dtrain = xgb.DMatrix(data, label=label)
To load a
scipy.sparse
array intoDMatrix
:csr = scipy.sparse.csr_matrix((dat, (row, col))) dtrain = xgb.DMatrix(csr)
To load a Pandas data frame into
DMatrix
:data = pandas.DataFrame(np.arange(12).reshape((4,3)), columns=['a', 'b', 'c']) label = pandas.DataFrame(np.random.randint(2, size=4)) dtrain = xgb.DMatrix(data, label=label)
Saving
DMatrix
into a XGBoost binary file will make loading faster:dtrain = xgb.DMatrix('train.svm.txt?format=libsvm') dtrain.save_binary('train.buffer')
Missing values can be replaced by a default value in the
DMatrix
constructor:dtrain = xgb.DMatrix(data, label=label, missing=np.NaN)
Weights can be set when needed:
w = np.random.rand(5, 1) dtrain = xgb.DMatrix(data, label=label, missing=np.NaN, weight=w)
When performing ranking tasks, the number of weights should be equal to number of groups.
To load a LIBSVM text file or a XGBoost binary file into
DMatrix
:dtrain = xgb.DMatrix('train.svm.txt?format=libsvm') dtest = xgb.DMatrix('test.svm.buffer')
The parser in XGBoost has limited functionality. When using Python interface, it’s recommended to use sklearn
load_svmlight_file
or other similar utilites than XGBoost’s builtin parser.To load a CSV file into
DMatrix
:# label_column specifies the index of the column containing the true label dtrain = xgb.DMatrix('train.csv?format=csv&label_column=0') dtest = xgb.DMatrix('test.csv?format=csv&label_column=0')
The parser in XGBoost has limited functionality. When using Python interface, it’s recommended to use pandas
read_csv
or other similar utilites than XGBoost’s builtin parser.
Supported data structures for various XGBoost functions
Markers
T: Supported.
F: Not supported.
NE: Invalid type for the use case. For instance, pd.Series can not be multitarget label.
NPA: Support with the help of numpy array.
CPA: Support with the help of cupy array.
SciCSR: Support with the help of scripy sparse CSR. The conversion to scipy CSR may or may not be possible. Raise a type error if conversion fails.
FF: We can look forward to having its support in recent future if requested.
empty: To be filled in.
Table Header
X means predictor matrix.
Meta info: label, weight, etc.
Multi Label: 2dim label for multitarget.
Others: Anything else that we don’t list here explicitly including formats like lil, dia, bsr. XGBoost will try to convert it into scipy csr.
Support Matrix
Name 
DMatrix X 
QuantileDMatrix X 
Sklearn X 
Meta Info 
Inplace prediction 
Multi Label 

numpy.ndarray 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
scipy.sparse.csr 
T 
T 
T 
NE 
T 
F 
scipy.sparse.csc 
T 
F 
T 
NE 
F 
F 
scipy.sparse.coo 
SciCSR 
F 
SciCSR 
NE 
F 
F 
uri 
T 
F 
F 
F 
NE 
F 
list 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
T 
tuple 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
T 
pandas.DataFrame 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
pandas.Series 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NE 
cudf.DataFrame 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
cudf.Series 
T 
T 
T 
T 
FF 
NE 
cupy.ndarray 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
torch.Tensor 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
T 
dlpack 
CPA 
CPA 
CPA 
FF 
FF 

datatable.Frame 
T 
FF 
NPA 
FF 

datatable.Table 
T 
FF 
NPA 
FF 

modin.DataFrame 
NPA 
FF 
NPA 
NPA 
FF 

modin.Series 
NPA 
FF 
NPA 
NPA 
FF 

pyarrow.Table 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
NPA 
__array__ 
NPA 
F 
NPA 
NPA 
H 

Others 
SciCSR 
F 
F 
F 
Setting Parameters
XGBoost can use either a list of pairs or a dictionary to set parameters. For instance:
Booster parameters
param = {'max_depth': 2, 'eta': 1, 'objective': 'binary:logistic'} param['nthread'] = 4 param['eval_metric'] = 'auc'
You can also specify multiple eval metrics:
param['eval_metric'] = ['auc', 'ams@0'] # alternatively: # plst = param.items() # plst += [('eval_metric', 'ams@0')]
Specify validations set to watch performance
evallist = [(dtrain, 'train'), (dtest, 'eval')]
Training
Training a model requires a parameter list and data set.
num_round = 10
bst = xgb.train(param, dtrain, num_round, evallist)
After training, the model can be saved.
bst.save_model('0001.model')
The model and its feature map can also be dumped to a text file.
# dump model
bst.dump_model('dump.raw.txt')
# dump model with feature map
bst.dump_model('dump.raw.txt', 'featmap.txt')
A saved model can be loaded as follows:
bst = xgb.Booster({'nthread': 4}) # init model
bst.load_model('model.bin') # load model data
Methods including update and boost from xgboost.Booster are designed for internal usage only. The wrapper function xgboost.train does some preconfiguration including setting up caches and some other parameters.
Early Stopping
If you have a validation set, you can use early stopping to find the optimal number of boosting rounds.
Early stopping requires at least one set in evals
. If there’s more than one, it will use the last.
train(..., evals=evals, early_stopping_rounds=10)
The model will train until the validation score stops improving. Validation error needs to decrease at least every early_stopping_rounds
to continue training.
If early stopping occurs, the model will have two additional fields: bst.best_score
, bst.best_iteration
. Note that xgboost.train()
will return a model from the last iteration, not the best one.
This works with both metrics to minimize (RMSE, log loss, etc.) and to maximize (MAP, NDCG, AUC). Note that if you specify more than one evaluation metric the last one in param['eval_metric']
is used for early stopping.
Prediction
A model that has been trained or loaded can perform predictions on data sets.
# 7 entities, each contains 10 features
data = np.random.rand(7, 10)
dtest = xgb.DMatrix(data)
ypred = bst.predict(dtest)
If early stopping is enabled during training, you can get predictions from the best iteration with bst.best_iteration
:
ypred = bst.predict(dtest, iteration_range=(0, bst.best_iteration + 1))
Plotting
You can use plotting module to plot importance and output tree.
To plot importance, use xgboost.plot_importance()
. This function requires matplotlib
to be installed.
xgb.plot_importance(bst)
To plot the output tree via matplotlib
, use xgboost.plot_tree()
, specifying the ordinal number of the target tree. This function requires graphviz
and matplotlib
.
xgb.plot_tree(bst, num_trees=2)
When you use IPython
, you can use the xgboost.to_graphviz()
function, which converts the target tree to a graphviz
instance. The graphviz
instance is automatically rendered in IPython
.
xgb.to_graphviz(bst, num_trees=2)
ScikitLearn interface
XGBoost provides an easy to use scikitlearn interface for some predefined models including regression, classification and ranking. See Using the ScikitLearn Estimator Interface for more info.
# Use "hist" for training the model.
reg = xgb.XGBRegressor(tree_method="hist", device="cuda")
# Fit the model using predictor X and response y.
reg.fit(X, y)
# Save model into JSON format.
reg.save_model("regressor.json")
User can still access the underlying booster model when needed:
booster: xgb.Booster = reg.get_booster()