Improved Use of Continuous Attributes in C4.5

Quinlan, J. R.

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research 

A reported weakness of C4.5 in domains with continuous attributes is addressed by modifying the formation and evaluation of tests on continuous attributes. An MDL-inspired penalty is applied to such tests, eliminating some of them from consideration and altering the relative desirability of all tests. Empirical trials show that the modifications lead to smaller decision trees with higher predictive accuracies. Results also confirm that a new version of C4.5 incorporating these changes is superior to recent approaches that use global discretization and that construct small trees with multi-interval splits.