Several recent publications report advances in training optimal decision trees (ODT) using mixed-integer programs (MIP), due to algorithmic advances in integer programming and a growing interest in addressing the inherent suboptimality of heuristic approaches such as CART. In this paper, we propose a novel MIP formulation, based on a 1-norm support vector machine model, to train a multivariate ODT for classification problems. We provide cutting plane techniques that tighten the linear relaxation of the MIP formulation, in order to improve run times to reach optimality. Using 36 data-sets from the University of California Irvine Machine Learning Repository, we demonstrate that our formulation outperforms its counterparts in the literature by an average of about 10% in terms of mean out-of-sample testing accuracy across the data-sets. We provide a scalable framework to train multivariate ODT on large data-sets by introducing a novel linear programming (LP) based data selection method to choose a subset of the data for training. Our method is able to routinely handle large data-sets with more than 7,000 sample points and outperform heuristics methods and other MIP based techniques. We present results on data-sets containing up to 245,000 samples. Existing MIP-based methods do not scale well on training data-sets beyond 5,500 samples.
Speakers: Haoran Zhu, Pavankumar Murali, Dzung Phan, Lam Nguyen, Jayant Kalagnanam