Universiteit Leiden

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Robust rules for prediction and description.

In this work, we attempt to answer the question: "How to learn robust and interpretable rule-based models from data for machine learning and data mining, and define their optimality?".

Hugo Manuel Proença
27 October 2021
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Rules provide a simple form of storing and sharing information about the world. As humans, we use rules every day, such as the physician that diagnoses someone with flu, represented by "if a person has either a fever or sore throat (among others), then she has the flu.". Even though an individual rule can only describe simple events, several aggregated rules can represent more complex scenarios, such as the complete set of diagnostic rules employed by a physician.

The use of rules spans many fields in computer science, and in this dissertation, we focus on rule-based models for machine learning and data mining. Machine learning focuses on learning the model that best predicts future (previously unseen) events from historical data. Data mining aims to find interesting patterns in the available data. 

To answer our question, we use the Minimum Description Length (MDL) principle, which allows us to define the statistical optimality of rule-based models. Furthermore, we empirically show that this formulation is highly competitive for real-world problems.

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