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162
Experiments with a New Boosting Algorithm
, 1996
"... In an earlier paper, we introduced a new “boosting” algorithm called AdaBoost which, theoretically, can be used to significantly reduce the error of any learning algorithm that consistently generates classifiers whose performance is a little better than random guessing. We also introduced the relate ..."
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Cited by 2080 (21 self)
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In an earlier paper, we introduced a new “boosting” algorithm called AdaBoost which, theoretically, can be used to significantly reduce the error of any learning algorithm that consistently generates classifiers whose performance is a little better than random guessing. We also introduced the related notion of a “pseudoloss ” which is a method for forcing a learning algorithm of multilabel conceptsto concentrate on the labels that are hardest to discriminate. In this paper, we describe experiments we carried out to assess how well AdaBoost with and without pseudoloss, performs on real learning problems. We performed two sets of experiments. The first set compared boosting to Breiman’s “bagging ” method when used to aggregate various classifiers (including decision trees and single attributevalue tests). We compared the performance of the two methods on a collection of machinelearning benchmarks. In the second set of experiments, we studied in more detail the performance of boosting using a nearestneighbor classifier on an OCR problem.
Boosting the margin: A new explanation for the effectiveness of voting methods
 IN PROCEEDINGS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MACHINE LEARNING
, 1997
"... One of the surprising recurring phenomena observed in experiments with boosting is that the test error of the generated classifier usually does not increase as its size becomes very large, and often is observed to decrease even after the training error reaches zero. In this paper, we show that this ..."
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Cited by 877 (54 self)
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One of the surprising recurring phenomena observed in experiments with boosting is that the test error of the generated classifier usually does not increase as its size becomes very large, and often is observed to decrease even after the training error reaches zero. In this paper, we show that this phenomenon is related to the distribution of margins of the training examples with respect to the generated voting classification rule, where the margin of an example is simply the difference between the number of correct votes and the maximum number of votes received by any incorrect label. We show that techniques used in the analysis of Vapnik’s support vector classifiers and of neural networks with small weights can be applied to voting methods to relate the margin distribution to the test error. We also show theoretically and experimentally that boosting is especially effective at increasing the margins of the training examples. Finally, we compare our explanation to those based on the biasvariance decomposition.
On the optimality of the simple Bayesian classifier under zeroone loss
 MACHINE LEARNING
, 1997
"... The simple Bayesian classifier is known to be optimal when attributes are independent given the class, but the question of whether other sufficient conditions for its optimality exist has so far not been explored. Empirical results showing that it performs surprisingly well in many domains containin ..."
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Cited by 800 (27 self)
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The simple Bayesian classifier is known to be optimal when attributes are independent given the class, but the question of whether other sufficient conditions for its optimality exist has so far not been explored. Empirical results showing that it performs surprisingly well in many domains containing clear attribute dependences suggest that the answer to this question may be positive. This article shows that, although the Bayesian classifier’s probability estimates are only optimal under quadratic loss if the independence assumption holds, the classifier itself can be optimal under zeroone loss (misclassification rate) even when this assumption is violated by a wide margin. The region of quadraticloss optimality of the Bayesian classifier is in fact a secondorder infinitesimal fraction of the region of zeroone optimality. This implies that the Bayesian classifier has a much greater range of applicability than previously thought. For example, in this article it is shown to be optimal for learning conjunctions and disjunctions, even though they violate the independence assumption. Further, studies in artificial domains show that it will often outperform more powerful classifiers for common training set sizes and numbers of attributes, even if its bias is a priori much less appropriate to the domain. This article’s results also imply that detecting attribute dependence is not necessarily the best way to extend the Bayesian classifier, and this is also verified empirically.
An Efficient Boosting Algorithm for Combining Preferences
, 1999
"... The problem of combining preferences arises in several applications, such as combining the results of different search engines. This work describes an efficient algorithm for combining multiple preferences. We first give a formal framework for the problem. We then describe and analyze a new boosting ..."
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Cited by 687 (18 self)
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The problem of combining preferences arises in several applications, such as combining the results of different search engines. This work describes an efficient algorithm for combining multiple preferences. We first give a formal framework for the problem. We then describe and analyze a new boosting algorithm for combining preferences called RankBoost. We also describe an efficient implementation of the algorithm for certain natural cases. We discuss two experiments we carried out to assess the performance of RankBoost. In the first experiment, we used the algorithm to combine different WWW search strategies, each of which is a query expansion for a given domain. For this task, we compare the performance of RankBoost to the individual search strategies. The second experiment is a collaborativefiltering task for making movie recommendations. Here, we present results comparing RankBoost to nearestneighbor and regression algorithms.
Approximate Statistical Tests for Comparing Supervised Classification Learning Algorithms
, 1998
"... This article reviews five approximate statistical tests for determining whether one learning algorithm outperforms another on a particular learning task. These tests are compared experimentally to determine their probability of incorrectly detecting a difference when no difference exists (type I err ..."
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Cited by 681 (9 self)
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This article reviews five approximate statistical tests for determining whether one learning algorithm outperforms another on a particular learning task. These tests are compared experimentally to determine their probability of incorrectly detecting a difference when no difference exists (type I error). Two widely used statistical tests are shown to have high probability of type I error in certain situations and should never be used: a test for the difference of two proportions and a paireddifferences t test based on taking several random traintest splits. A third test, a paireddifferences t test based on 10fold crossvalidation, exhibits somewhat elevated probability of type I error. A fourth test, McNemar’s test, is shown to have low type I error. The fifth test is a new test, 5 × 2 cv, based on five iterations of twofold crossvalidation. Experiments show that this test also has acceptable type I error. The article also measures the power (ability to detect algorithm differences when they do exist) of these tests. The crossvalidated t test is the most powerful. The 5×2 cv test is shown to be slightly more powerful than McNemar’s test. The choice of the best test is determined by the computational cost of running the learning algorithm. For algorithms that can be executed only once, McNemar’s test is the only test with acceptable type I error. For algorithms that can be executed 10 times, the 5×2 cv test is recommended, because it is slightly more powerful and because it directly measures variation due to the choice of training set.
An Empirical Comparison of Voting Classification Algorithms: Bagging, Boosting, and Variants
 MACHINE LEARNING
, 1999
"... Methods for voting classification algorithms, such as Bagging and AdaBoost, have been shown to be very successful in improving the accuracy of certain classifiers for artificial and realworld datasets. We review these algorithms and describe a large empirical study comparing several variants in co ..."
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Cited by 657 (2 self)
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Methods for voting classification algorithms, such as Bagging and AdaBoost, have been shown to be very successful in improving the accuracy of certain classifiers for artificial and realworld datasets. We review these algorithms and describe a large empirical study comparing several variants in conjunction with a decision tree inducer (three variants) and a NaiveBayes inducer.
The purpose of the study is to improve our understanding of why and
when these algorithms, which use perturbation, reweighting, and
combination techniques, affect classification error. We provide a
bias and variance decomposition of the error to show how different
methods and variants influence these two terms. This allowed us to
determine that Bagging reduced variance of unstable methods, while
boosting methods (AdaBoost and Arcx4) reduced both the bias and
variance of unstable methods but increased the variance for NaiveBayes,
which was very stable. We observed that Arcx4 behaves differently
than AdaBoost if reweighting is used instead of resampling,
indicating a fundamental difference. Voting variants, some of which
are introduced in this paper, include: pruning versus no pruning,
use of probabilistic estimates, weight perturbations (Wagging), and
backfitting of data. We found that Bagging improves when
probabilistic estimates in conjunction with nopruning are used, as
well as when the data was backfit. We measure tree sizes and show
an interesting positive correlation between the increase in the
average tree size in AdaBoost trials and its success in reducing the
error. We compare the meansquared error of voting methods to
nonvoting methods and show that the voting methods lead to large
and significant reductions in the meansquared errors. Practical
problems that arise in implementing boosting algorithms are
explored, including numerical instabilities and underflows. We use
scatterplots that graphically show how AdaBoost reweights instances,
emphasizing not only "hard" areas but also outliers and noise.
Shape quantization and recognition with randomized trees
 NEURAL COMPUTATION
, 1997
"... We explore a new approach to shape recognition based on a virtually infinite family of binary features ("queries") of the image data, designed to accommodate prior information about shape invariance and regularity. Each query corresponds to a spatial arrangement ofseveral local topographic ..."
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Cited by 259 (19 self)
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We explore a new approach to shape recognition based on a virtually infinite family of binary features ("queries") of the image data, designed to accommodate prior information about shape invariance and regularity. Each query corresponds to a spatial arrangement ofseveral local topographic codes ("tags") which are in themselves too primitive and common to be informative about shape. All the discriminating power derives from relative angles and distances among the tags. The important attributes of the queries are (i) a natural partial ordering corresponding to increasing structure and complexity; (ii) semiinvariance, meaning that most shapes of a given class will answer the same way to two queries which are successive in the ordering; and (iii) stability, since the queries are not based on distinguished points and substructures. No classifier based on the full feature set can be evaluated and it is impossible to determine a priori which arrangements are informative. Our approach is to select informative features and build tree classifiers at the same time by inductive learning. In effect, each tree provides an approximation to the full posterior where the features
Popular ensemble methods: an empirical study
 Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research
, 1999
"... An ensemble consists of a set of individually trained classifiers (such as neural networks or decision trees) whose predictions are combined when classifying novel instances. Previous research has shown that an ensemble is often more accurate than any of the single classifiers in the ensemble. Baggi ..."
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Cited by 258 (3 self)
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An ensemble consists of a set of individually trained classifiers (such as neural networks or decision trees) whose predictions are combined when classifying novel instances. Previous research has shown that an ensemble is often more accurate than any of the single classifiers in the ensemble. Bagging (Breiman, 1996c) and Boosting (Freund & Schapire, 1996; Schapire, 1990) are two relatively new but popular methods for producing ensembles. In this paper we evaluate these methods on 23 data sets using both neural networks and decision trees as our classification algorithm. Our results clearly indicate a number of conclusions. First, while Bagging is almost always more accurate than a single classifier, it is sometimes much less accurate than Boosting. On the other hand, Boosting can create ensembles that are less accurate than a single classifier – especially when using neural networks. Analysis indicates that the performance of the Boosting methods is dependent on the characteristics of the data set being examined. In fact, further results show that Boosting ensembles may overfit noisy data sets, thus decreasing its performance. Finally, consistent with previous studies, our work suggests that most of the gain in an ensemble’s performance comes in the first few classifiers combined; however, relatively large gains can be seen up to 25 classifiers when Boosting decision trees. 1.
On the Learnability and Design of Output Codes for Multiclass Problems
 In Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Conference on Computational Learning Theory
, 2000
"... . Output coding is a general framework for solving multiclass categorization problems. Previous research on output codes has focused on building multiclass machines given predefined output codes. In this paper we discuss for the first time the problem of designing output codes for multiclass problem ..."
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Cited by 218 (6 self)
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. Output coding is a general framework for solving multiclass categorization problems. Previous research on output codes has focused on building multiclass machines given predefined output codes. In this paper we discuss for the first time the problem of designing output codes for multiclass problems. For the design problem of discrete codes, which have been used extensively in previous works, we present mostly negative results. We then introduce the notion of continuous codes and cast the design problem of continuous codes as a constrained optimization problem. We describe three optimization problems corresponding to three different norms of the code matrix. Interestingly, for the l 2 norm our formalism results in a quadratic program whose dual does not depend on the length of the code. A special case of our formalism provides a multiclass scheme for building support vector machines which can be solved efficiently. We give a time and space efficient algorithm for solving the quadratic program. We describe preliminary experiments with synthetic data show that our algorithm is often two orders of magnitude faster than standard quadratic programming packages. We conclude with the generalization properties of the algorithm. Keywords: Multiclass categorization,output coding, SVM 1.
Bias plus variance decomposition for zeroone loss functions
 In Machine Learning: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference
, 1996
"... We present a biasvariance decomposition of expected misclassi cation rate, the most commonly used loss function in supervised classi cation learning. The biasvariance decomposition for quadratic loss functions is well known and serves as an important tool for analyzing learning algorithms, yet no ..."
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Cited by 207 (5 self)
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We present a biasvariance decomposition of expected misclassi cation rate, the most commonly used loss function in supervised classi cation learning. The biasvariance decomposition for quadratic loss functions is well known and serves as an important tool for analyzing learning algorithms, yet no decomposition was o ered for the more commonly used zeroone (misclassi cation) loss functions until the recent work of Kong & Dietterich (1995) and Breiman (1996). Their decomposition su ers from some major shortcomings though (e.g., potentially negative variance), which our decomposition avoids. We show that, in practice, the naive frequencybased estimation of the decomposition terms is by itself biased and show how to correct for this bias. We illustrate the decomposition on various algorithms and datasets from the UCI repository. 1