Bias-Variance Analysis of Local Classification Methods

  • Julia Schiffner
  • Bernd Bischl
  • Claus Weihs
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization book series (STUDIES CLASS)


In recent years an increasing amount of so called local classification methods has been developed. Local approaches to classification are not new. Well-known examples are the k nearest neighbors method and classification trees (e.g. CART). However, the term ‘local’ is usually used without further explanation of its particular meaning, we neither know which properties local methods have nor for which types of classification problems they may be beneficial. In order to address these problems we conduct a benchmark study. Based on 26 artificial and real-world data sets selected local and global classification methods are analyzed in terms of the bias-variance decomposition of the misclassification rate. The results support our intuition that local methods exhibit lower bias compared to global counterparts. This reduction comes at the price of an only slightly increased variance such that the error rate in total may be improved.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of StatisticsTU Dortmund UniversityDortmundGermany

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