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An Empirical Study on Class Probability Estimates in Decision Tree Learning

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Executive Summary

Decision tree is one of the most effective and widely used models for classification and ranking and has received a great deal of attention from researchers in the domain of data mining and machine learning. A critical problem in decision tree learning is how to estimate the class-membership probabilities from decision trees. In this paper, the authors firstly survey all kinds of class probability estimation methods, mainly include the maximum-likelihood estimate, the Laplace estimate, the m-estimate, the similarity-weighted estimate, the naive Bayes-based estimate, and so on. Then, they provide an empirical study on the classification and ranking performance of the resulting decision trees using different class probability estimation methods. The experimental results based on a large number of UCI data sets verify their conclusions.

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