Simplifying Decision Trees

Unknown author (1986-12-01)

Many systems have been developed for constructing decision trees from collections of examples. Although the decision trees generated by these methods are accurate and efficient, they often suffer the disadvantage of excessive complexity that can render them incomprehensible to experts. It is questionable whether opaque structures of this kind can be described as knowledge, no matter how well they function. This paper discusses techniques for simplifying decision trees without compromising their accuracy. Four methods are described, illustrated, and compared on a test- bed of decision trees from a variety of domains.