Machine Learning

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 319–342

An empirical comparison of selection measures for decision-tree induction

  • John Mingers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00116837

Cite this article as:
Mingers, J. Mach Learn (1989) 3: 319. doi:10.1007/BF00116837


One approach to induction is to develop a decision tree from a set of examples. When used with noisy rather than deterministic data, the method involve-three main stages—creating a complete tree able to classify all the examples, pruning this tree to give statistical reliability, and processing the pruned tree to improve understandability. This paper is concerned with the first stage — tree creation which relies on a measure for “goodness of split,” that is, how well the attributes discriminate between classes. Some problems encountered at this stage are missing data and multi-valued attributes. The paper considers a number of different measures and experimentally examines their behavior in four domains. The results show that the choice of measure affects the size of a tree but not its accuracy, which remains the same even when attributes are selected randomly.


Decision trees knowledge acquisition induction noisy data 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Mingers
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Industrial and Business StudiesUniversity of WarwickCoventryU.K.

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