New Publication on Interpretable Machine Learning for Tree Ensembles

Our recent paper on interpretable machine learning for tree ensembles has been accepted for publication and presentation at the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) and is available here.

Abstract: The use of machine learning algorithms in finance, medicine, and criminal justice can deeply impact human lives. As a consequence, research into interpretable machine learning has rapidly grown in an attempt to better control and fix possible sources of mistakes and biases. Tree ensembles, in particular, offer a good prediction quality in various domains, but the concurrent use of multiple trees reduces the interpretability of the ensemble. Against this background, we study born-again tree ensembles, i.e., the process of constructing a single decision tree of minimum size that reproduces the exact same behavior as a given tree ensemble in its entire feature space. To find such a tree, we develop a dynamic-programming based algorithm that exploits sophisticated pruning and bounding rules to reduce the number of recursive calls. This algorithm generates optimal born-again trees for many datasets of practical interest, leading to classifiers which are typically simpler and more interpretable without any other form of compromise.