XGBoost is often presented as the algorithm that wins every ML competition. Surprisingly, this is true even though predictions are piecewise constant. This might be justified in high dimensional input spaces, but when the number of features is low, a piecewise linear model is likely to perform better. XGBoost was extended into LinXGBoost that stores at each leaf a linear model. This extension, equivalent to piecewise regularized least-squares, is particularly attractive for regression of functions that exhibits jumps or discontinuities. Those functions are notoriously hard to regress. Our extension is compared to the vanilla XGBoost and Random Forest in experiments on both synthetic and real-world data sets.

Khurana, Udayan, Samulowitz, Horst

Building a good predictive model requires an array of activities such as data imputation, feature transformations, estimator selection, hyper-parameter search and ensemble construction. Given the large, complex and heterogenous space of options, off-the-shelf optimization methods are infeasible for realistic response times. In practice, much of the predictive modeling process is conducted by experienced data scientists, who selectively make use of available tools. Over time, they develop an understanding of the behavior of operators, and perform serial decision making under uncertainty, colloquially referred to as educated guesswork. With an unprecedented demand for application of supervised machine learning, there is a call for solutions that automatically search for a good combination of parameters across these tasks to minimize the modeling error. We introduce a novel system called APRL (Autonomous Predictive modeler via Reinforcement Learning), that uses past experience through reinforcement learning to optimize such sequential decision making from within a set of diverse actions under a time constraint on a previously unseen predictive learning problem. APRL actions are taken to optimize the performance of a final ensemble. This is in contrast to other systems, which maximize individual model accuracy first and create ensembles as a disconnected post-processing step. As a result, APRL is able to reduce up to 71\% of classification error on average over a wide variety of problems.

Wang, Wenyi, Welch, William J.

We propose an algorithm for a family of optimization problems where the objective can be decomposed as a sum of functions with monotonicity properties. The motivating problem is optimization of hyperparameters of machine learning algorithms, where we argue that the objective, validation error, can be decomposed as monotonic functions of the hyperparameters. Our proposed algorithm adapts Bayesian optimization methods to incorporate the monotonicity constraints. We illustrate the advantages of exploiting monotonicity using illustrative examples and demonstrate the improvements in optimization efficiency for some machine learning hyperparameter tuning applications.

In this article, you will discover XGBoost and get a gentle introduction to what it is, where it came from and how you can learn more. Bagging: It is an approach where you take random samples of data, build learning algorithms and take simple means to find bagging probabilities. Boosting: Boosting is similar, however, the selection of sample is made more intelligently. We subsequently give more and more weight to hard to classify observations. XGBoost is an optimized distributed gradient boosting library designed to be highly efficient, flexible and portable.

Liu, C. H. Bryan, Chamberlain, Benjamin Paul, Little, Duncan A., Cardoso, Angelo

Random forests are among the most popular classification and regression methods used in industrial applications. To be effective, the parameters of random forests must be carefully tuned. This is usually done by choosing values that minimize the prediction error on a held out dataset. We argue that error reduction is only one of several metrics that must be considered when optimizing random forest parameters for commercial applications. We propose a novel metric that captures the stability of random forests predictions, which we argue is key for scenarios that require successive predictions. We motivate the need for multi-criteria optimization by showing that in practical applications, simply choosing the parameters that lead to the lowest error can introduce unnecessary costs and produce predictions that are not stable across independent runs. To optimize this multi-criteria trade-off, we present a new framework that efficiently finds a principled balance between these three considerations using Bayesian optimisation. The pitfalls of optimising forest parameters purely for error reduction are demonstrated using two publicly available real world datasets. We show that our framework leads to parameter settings that are markedly different from the values discovered by error reduction metrics.