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Title: Fast Interpretable Greedy-Tree Sums (FIGS)
Modern machine learning has achieved impressive prediction performance, but often sacrifices interpretability, a critical consideration in many problems. Here, we propose Fast Interpretable Greedy-Tree Sums (FIGS), an algorithm for fitting concise rule-based models. Specifically, FIGS generalizes the CART algorithm to simultaneously grow a flexible number of trees in a summation. The total number of splits across all the trees can be restricted by a pre-specified threshold, thereby keeping both the size and number of its trees under control. When both are small, the fitted tree-sum can be easily visualized and written out by hand, making it highly interpretable. A partially oracle theoretical result hints at the potential for FIGS to overcome a key weakness of single-tree models by disentangling additive components of generative additive models, thereby reducing redundancy from repeated splits on the same feature. Furthermore, given oracle access to optimal tree structures, we obtain l2 generalization bounds for such generative models in the case of C component functions, matching known minimax rates in some cases. Extensive experiments across a wide array of real-world datasets show that FIGS achieves state-of-the-art prediction performance (among all popular rule-based methods) when restricted to just a few splits (e.g. less than 20). We find more » empirically that FIGS is able to avoid repeated splits, and often provides more concise decision rules than fitted decision trees, without sacrificing predictive performance. All code and models are released in a full-fledged package on Github. « less
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Award ID(s):
2023505 1741340
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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