Reinforcement Learning Trees

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Authors Ruoqing Zhu, Donglin Zeng, Michael R. Kosorok
Journal/Conference Name JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN STATISTICAL ASSOCIATION
Paper Category
Paper Abstract In this article, we introduce a new type of tree-based method, reinforcement learning trees (RLT), which exhibits significantly improved performance over traditional methods such as random forests (Breiman 2001) under high-dimensional settings. The innovations are three-fold. First, the new method implements reinforcement learning at each selection of a splitting variable during the tree construction processes. By splitting on the variable that brings the greatest future improvement in later splits, rather than choosing the one with largest marginal effect from the immediate split, the constructed tree uses the available samples in a more efficient way. Moreover, such an approach enables linear combination cuts at little extra computational cost. Second, we propose a variable muting procedure that progressively eliminates noise variables during the construction of each individual tree. The muting procedure also takes advantage of reinforcement learning and prevents noise variables from being considered in...
Date of publication 2015
Code Programming Language R
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