Learning Rules of Thumb

When machines classify data, the rules can be arbitrarily complex. Humans, on the other hand, have trouble manipulating large structures and algebraic formulae. Therefore, when the rules are learned for the purpose of their execution by humans, the classier's accuracy needs to be balanced against the hardness of evaluating the rules given an unseen instance. This work examines several known learners in this light, and proposes a new algorithm for building human-friendly rules from datasets where easy classications exist. We also propose a new accuracy-complexity measure. In contrast to measures like BIC where the complexity penalty is rigid, ours allows exibility in the weight given to complexity. We evaluate our ”rule of thumb” learner against the known learners, and show that it produces better results over a wide range of the complexity-accuracy trade-off parameter.

By: Dan Pelleg

Published in: H-0255 in 2006


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