Decision and Inhibitory Trees for Decision Tables with Many-Valued Decisions

  • Mohammad Azad

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Decision trees are one of the most commonly used tools in decision analysis, knowledge representation, machine learning, etc., for its simplicity and interpretability. We consider an extension of dynamic programming approach to process the whole set of decision trees for the given decision table which was previously only attainable by brute-force algorithms. We study decision tables with many-valued decisions (each row may contain multiple decisions) because they are more reasonable models of data in many cases. To address this problem in a broad sense, we consider not only decision trees but also inhibitory trees where terminal nodes are labeled with “̸= decision”. Inhibitory trees can sometimes describe more knowledge from datasets than decision trees. As for cost functions, we consider depth or average depth to minimize time complexity of trees, and the number of nodes or the number of the terminal, or nonterminal nodes to minimize the space complexity of trees. We investigate the multi-stage optimization of trees relative to some cost functions, and also the possibility to describe the whole set of strictly optimal trees. Furthermore, we study the bi-criteria optimization cost vs. cost and cost vs. uncertainty for decision trees, and cost vs. cost and cost vs. completeness for inhibitory trees. The most interesting application of the developed technique is the creation of multi-pruning and restricted multi-pruning approaches which are useful for knowledge representation and prediction. The experimental results show that decision trees constructed by these approaches can often outperform the decision trees constructed by the CART algorithm. Another application includes the comparison of 12 greedy heuristics for single- and bi-criteria optimization (cost vs. cost) of trees. We also study the three approaches (decision tables with many-valued decisions, decision tables with most common decisions, and decision tables with generalized decisions) to handle inconsistency of decision tables. We also analyze the time complexity of decision and inhibitory trees over arbitrary sets of attributes represented by information systems in the frameworks of local (when we can use in trees only attributes from problem description) and global (when we can use in trees arbitrary attributes from the information system) approaches.
Date of AwardJun 6 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering
SupervisorMikhail Moshkov (Supervisor)


  • decision table and tree
  • Dynamic Programming
  • bi-criteria optimization
  • Inhibitory tree
  • Multi-stage optimization
  • inconsistent table

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