Machine Learning

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 229–246 | Cite as

Learning Decision Lists

  • Ronald L. Rivest


This paper introduces a new representation for Boolean functions, called decision lists, and shows that they are efficiently learnable from examples. More precisely, this result is established for k-;DL – the set of decision lists with conjunctive clauses of size k at each decision. Since k-DL properly includes other well-known techniques for representing Boolean functions such as k-CNF (formulae in conjunctive normal form with at most k literals per clause), k-DNF (formulae in disjunctive normal form with at most k literals per term), and decision trees of depth k, our result strictly increases the set of functions that are known to be polynomially learnable, in the sense of Valiant (1984). Our proof is constructive: we present an algorithm that can efficiently construct an element of k-DL consistent with a given set of examples, if one exists.

Learning from examples decision lists Boolean formulae polynomial-time identification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald L. Rivest
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Computer ScienceMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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