Machine Learning

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 45–77 | Cite as

Multivariate Decision Trees

  • Carla E. Brodley
  • Paul E. Utgoff


Unlike a univariate decision tree, a multivariate decision tree is not restricted to splits of the instance space that are orthogonal to the features' axes. This article addresses several issues for constructing multivariate decision trees: representing a multivariate test, including symbolic and numeric features, learning the coefficients of a multivariate test, selecting the features to include in a test, and pruning of multivariate decision trees. We present several new methods for forming multivariate decision trees and compare them with several well-known methods. We compare the different methods across a variety of learning tasks, in order to assess each method's ability to find concise, accurate decision trees. The results demonstrate that some multivariate methods are in general more effective than others (in the context of our experimental assumptions). In addition, the experiments confirm that allowing multivariate tests generally improves the accuracy of the resulting decision tree over a univariate tree.

decision trees multivariate tests linear discriminant functions inductive learning 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla E. Brodley
    • 1
  • Paul E. Utgoff
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Electrical EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest Lafayette
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of MassachusettsAmherst

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