Banzhaf Random Forests

Random forests are a type of ensemble method which makes predictions by combining the results of several independent trees. However, the theory of random forests has long been outpaced by their application. In this paper, we propose a novel random forests algorithm based on cooperative game theory. Banzhaf power index is employed to evaluate the power of each feature by traversing possible feature coalitions. Unlike the previously used information gain rate of information theory, which simply chooses the most informative feature, the Banzhaf power index can be considered as a metric of the importance of each feature on the dependency among a group of features. More importantly, we have proved the consistency of the proposed algorithm, named Banzhaf random forests (BRF). This theoretical analysis takes a step towards narrowing the gap between the theory and practice of random forests for classification problems. Experiments on several UCI benchmark data sets show that BRF is competitive with state-of-the-art classifiers and dramatically outperforms previous consistent random forests. Particularly, it is much more efficient than previous consistent random forests.

The entire paper can be read here.

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