Machine Learning: ECML 2000

Volume 1810 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 404-412


On the Boosting Pruning Problem

  • Christino TamonAffiliated withClarkson University
  • , Jie XiangAffiliated withBCL Computers, Inc.

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Boosting is a powerful method for improving the predictive accuracy of classifiers. The AdaBoost algorithm of Freund and Schapire has been successfully applied to many domains [2, 10, 12] and the combination of AdaBoost with the C4.5 decision tree algorithm has been called the best off-the-shelf learning algorithm in practice. Unfortunately, in some applications, the number of decision trees required by AdaBoost to achieve a reasonable accuracy is enormously large and hence is very space consuming. This problem was first studied by Margineantu and Dietterich [7], where they proposed an empirical method called Kappa pruning to prune the boosting ensemble of decision trees. The Kappa method did this without sacrificing too much accuracy. In this work-in-progress we propose a potential improvement to the Kappa pruning method and also study the boosting pruning problem from a theoretical perspective. We point out that the boosting pruning problem is intractable even to approximate. Finally, we suggest a margin-based theoretical heuristic for this problem.