Oblivious Decision Trees and Abstract Cases

Pat Langley and Stephanie Sage

In this paper, we address the problem of case-based learning in the presence of irrelevant features. We review previous work on attribute selection and present a new algorithm, OBLIVION, that carries out greedy pruning of oblivious decision trees, which effectively store a set of abstract cases in memory. We hypothesize that this approach will efficiently identify relevant features even when they interact, as in parity concepts. We report experimental results on artificial domains that support this hypothesis, and experiments with natural domains that show improvement in some cases but not others. In closing, we discuss the implications of our experiments, consider additional work on irrelevant features, and outline some directions for future research.

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