Frontiers of Computer Science

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 560–570 | Cite as

Structural diversity for decision tree ensemble learning

Research Article


Decision trees are a kind of off-the-shelf predictive models, and they have been successfully used as the base learners in ensemble learning. To construct a strong classifier ensemble, the individual classifiers should be accurate and diverse. However, diversity measure remains a mystery although there were many attempts. We conjecture that a deficiency of previous diversity measures lies in the fact that they consider only behavioral diversity, i.e., how the classifiers behave when making predictions, neglecting the fact that classifiers may be potentially different even when they make the same predictions. Based on this recognition, in this paper, we advocate to consider structural diversity in addition to behavioral diversity, and propose the TMD (tree matching diversity) measure for decision trees. To investigate the usefulness of TMD, we empirically evaluate performances of selective ensemble approaches with decision forests by incorporating different diversity measures. Our results validate that by considering structural and behavioral diversities together, stronger ensembles can be constructed. This may raise a new direction to design better diversity measures and ensemble methods.


ensemble learning structural diversity decision tree 


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The authors would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61333014).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material, approximately 109 KB.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Key Laboratory for Novel Software TechnologyNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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