Detecting Statistical Interactions with Additive Groves of Trees

author: Daria Sorokina, Department of Computer Science, Cornell University
published: Aug. 29, 2008,   recorded: July 2008,   views: 5873


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Discovering additive structure is an important step towards understanding a complex multi-dimensional function because it allows the function to be expressed as the sum of lower-dimensional components. When variables interact, however, their effects are not additive and must be modeled and interpreted simultaneously. We present a new approach for the problem of interaction detection. Our method is based on comparing the performance of unrestricted and restricted prediction models, where restricted models are prevented from modeling an interaction in question. We show that an additive model-based regression ensemble, Additive Groves, can be restricted appropriately for use with this framework, and thus has the right properties for accurately detecting variable interactions.

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