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This paper illustrates the application of evolutionary algorithms (EAs) to the problem of oblique decision-tree (DT) induction. The objectives are to demonstrate that EAs can find classifiers whose accuracy is competitive with other oblique tree construction methods, and that, at least in some cases, this can be accomplished in a shorter time. We performed experiments with a (1+1) evolution strategy and a simple genetic algorithm on public domain and artificial data sets, and compared the results with three other oblique and one axis-parallel DT algorithms. The empirical results suggest that the EAs quickly find competitive classifiers, and that EAs scale up better than traditional methods to the dimensionality of the domain and the number of instances used in training. In addition, we show that the classification accuracy improves when the trees obtained with the EAs are combined in ensembles, and that sometimes it is possible to build the ensemble of evolutionary trees in less time than a single traditional oblique tree.
Date of Publication: Feb 2003