ECAI 2004 Conference Paper

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Explaining the result of a decision tree to the end-user

Isabelle Alvarez

This paper addresses the problem of the explanation of the result given by a decision tree, when it is used to predict the class of a new case. In order to evaluate this result, the end-user relies on some estimate of the error rate and on the trace of the classification. Unfortunately the trace doesn't contain the information necessary to understand the case at hand. We propose a new method to qualify the result given by a decision tree when the data are numerical. We perform a geometric study of the decision surface (the boundary of the inverse image of the different classes). This analysis gives the list of the tests of the tree that are the most sensitive to a change in the input data. Unlike the trace, this list can easily be ordered and pruned so that only the most important tests are presented. We also show how the metric can be used to interact with the end-user.

Keywords: Machine Learning, User Modelling, Decision Tree, Explanation of result

Citation: Isabelle Alvarez: Explaining the result of a decision tree to the end-user. In R.López de Mántaras and L.Saitta (eds.): ECAI2004, Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.411-415.

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ECAI-2004 is organised by the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI) and hosted by the Universitat Politècnica de València on behalf of Asociación Española de Inteligencia Artificial (AEPIA) and Associació Catalana d'Intel-ligència Artificial (ACIA).