Author

# Thomas G. Dietterich

Other affiliations: University of Wyoming, Stanford University

Bio: Thomas G. Dietterich is an academic researcher from Oregon State University. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Reinforcement learning & Markov decision process. The author has an hindex of 74, co-authored 279 publication(s) receiving 51935 citation(s). Previous affiliations of Thomas G. Dietterich include University of Wyoming & Stanford University.

##### Papers published on a yearly basis

##### Papers

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TL;DR: Machine learning addresses many of the same research questions as the fields of statistics, data mining, and psychology, but with differences of emphasis.

Abstract: Machine Learning is the study of methods for programming computers to learn. Computers are applied to a wide range of tasks, and for most of these it is relatively easy for programmers to design and implement the necessary software. However, there are many tasks for which this is difficult or impossible. These can be divided into four general categories. First, there are problems for which there exist no human experts. For example, in modern automated manufacturing facilities, there is a need to predict machine failures before they occur by analyzing sensor readings. Because the machines are new, there are no human experts who can be interviewed by a programmer to provide the knowledge necessary to build a computer system. A machine learning system can study recorded data and subsequent machine failures and learn prediction rules. Second, there are problems where human experts exist, but where they are unable to explain their expertise. This is the case in many perceptual tasks, such as speech recognition, hand-writing recognition, and natural language understanding. Virtually all humans exhibit expert-level abilities on these tasks, but none of them can describe the detailed steps that they follow as they perform them. Fortunately, humans can provide machines with examples of the inputs and correct outputs for these tasks, so machine learning algorithms can learn to map the inputs to the outputs. Third, there are problems where phenomena are changing rapidly. In finance, for example, people would like to predict the future behavior of the stock market, of consumer purchases, or of exchange rates. These behaviors change frequently, so that even if a programmer could construct a good predictive computer program, it would need to be rewritten frequently. A learning program can relieve the programmer of this burden by constantly modifying and tuning a set of learned prediction rules. Fourth, there are applications that need to be customized for each computer user separately. Consider, for example, a program to filter unwanted electronic mail messages. Different users will need different filters. It is unreasonable to expect each user to program his or her own rules, and it is infeasible to provide every user with a software engineer to keep the rules up-to-date. A machine learning system can learn which mail messages the user rejects and maintain the filtering rules automatically. Machine learning addresses many of the same research questions as the fields of statistics, data mining, and psychology, but with differences of emphasis. Statistics focuses on understanding the phenomena that have generated the data, often with the goal of testing different hypotheses about those phenomena. Data mining seeks to find patterns in the data that are understandable by people. Psychological studies of human learning aspire to understand the mechanisms underlying the various learning behaviors exhibited by people (concept learning, skill acquisition, strategy change, etc.).

12,323 citations

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TL;DR: Some previous studies comparing ensemble methods are reviewed, and some new experiments are presented to uncover the reasons that Adaboost does not overfit rapidly.

Abstract: Ensemble methods are learning algorithms that construct a set of classifiers and then classify new data points by taking a (weighted) vote of their predictions. The original ensemble method is Bayesian averaging, but more recent algorithms include error-correcting output coding, Bagging, and boosting. This paper reviews these methods and explains why ensembles can often perform better than any single classifier. Some previous studies comparing ensemble methods are reviewed, and some new experiments are presented to uncover the reasons that Adaboost does not overfit rapidly.

4,767 citations

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TL;DR: This article reviews five approximate statistical tests for determining whether one learning algorithm outperforms another on a particular learning task and measures the power (ability to detect algorithm differences when they do exist) of these tests.

Abstract: This article reviews five approximate statistical tests for determining whether one learning algorithm outperforms another on a particular learning task. These test sare compared experimentally to determine their probability of incorrectly detecting a difference when no difference exists (type I error). Two widely used statistical tests are shown to have high probability of type I error in certain situations and should never be used: a test for the difference of two proportions and a paired-differences t test based on taking several random train-test splits. A third test, a paired-differences t test based on 10-fold cross-validation, exhibits somewhat elevated probability of type I error. A fourth test, McNemar's test, is shown to have low type I error. The fifth test is a new test, 5 × 2 cv, based on five iterations of twofold cross-validation. Experiments show that this test also has acceptable type I error. The article also measures the power (ability to detect algorithm differences when they do exist)...

2,961 citations

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TL;DR: In this article, the authors compared the effectiveness of randomization, bagging, and boosting for improving the performance of the decision-tree algorithm C4.5 and found that in situations with little or no classification noise, randomization is competitive with bagging but not as accurate as boosting.

Abstract: Bagging and boosting are methods that generate a diverse ensemble of classifiers by manipulating the training data given to a “base” learning algorithm. Breiman has pointed out that they rely for their effectiveness on the instability of the base learning algorithm. An alternative approach to generating an ensemble is to randomize the internal decisions made by the base algorithm. This general approach has been studied previously by Ali and Pazzani and by Dietterich and Kong. This paper compares the effectiveness of randomization, bagging, and boosting for improving the performance of the decision-tree algorithm C4.5. The experiments show that in situations with little or no classification noise, randomization is competitive with (and perhaps slightly superior to) bagging but not as accurate as boosting. In situations with substantial classification noise, bagging is much better than boosting, and sometimes better than randomization.

2,630 citations

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TL;DR: It is demonstrated that error-correcting output codes provide a general-purpose method for improving the performance of inductive learning programs on multiclass problems.

Abstract: Multiclass learning problems involve finding a definition for an unknown function f(x) whose range is a discrete set containing k > 2 values (i.e., k ``classes''). The definition is acquired by studying collections of training examples of the form [x_i, f (x_i)]. Existing approaches to multiclass learning problems include direct application of multiclass algorithms such as the decision-tree algorithms C4.5 and CART, application of binary concept learning algorithms to learn individual binary functions for each of the k classes, and application of binary concept learning algorithms with distributed output representations. This paper compares these three approaches to a new technique in which error-correcting codes are employed as a distributed output representation. We show that these output representations improve the generalization performance of both C4.5 and backpropagation on a wide range of multiclass learning tasks. We also demonstrate that this approach is robust with respect to changes in the size of the training sample, the assignment of distributed representations to particular classes, and the application of overfitting avoidance techniques such as decision-tree pruning. Finally, we show that---like the other methods---the error-correcting code technique can provide reliable class probability estimates. Taken together, these results demonstrate that error-correcting output codes provide a general-purpose method for improving the performance of inductive learning programs on multiclass problems.

2,455 citations

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TL;DR: Internal estimates monitor error, strength, and correlation and these are used to show the response to increasing the number of features used in the forest, and are also applicable to regression.

Abstract: Random forests are a combination of tree predictors such that each tree depends on the values of a random vector sampled independently and with the same distribution for all trees in the forest. The generalization error for forests converges a.s. to a limit as the number of trees in the forest becomes large. The generalization error of a forest of tree classifiers depends on the strength of the individual trees in the forest and the correlation between them. Using a random selection of features to split each node yields error rates that compare favorably to Adaboost (Y. Freund & R. Schapire, Machine Learning: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International conference, aaa, 148–156), but are more robust with respect to noise. Internal estimates monitor error, strength, and correlation and these are used to show the response to increasing the number of features used in the splitting. Internal estimates are also used to measure variable importance. These ideas are also applicable to regression.

58,232 citations

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Bell Labs

^{1}, École Normale Supérieure^{2}, AT&T^{3}, Alcatel-Lucent^{4}, École Polytechnique de Montréal^{5}TL;DR: In this article, a graph transformer network (GTN) is proposed for handwritten character recognition, which can be used to synthesize a complex decision surface that can classify high-dimensional patterns, such as handwritten characters.

Abstract: Multilayer neural networks trained with the back-propagation algorithm constitute the best example of a successful gradient based learning technique. Given an appropriate network architecture, gradient-based learning algorithms can be used to synthesize a complex decision surface that can classify high-dimensional patterns, such as handwritten characters, with minimal preprocessing. This paper reviews various methods applied to handwritten character recognition and compares them on a standard handwritten digit recognition task. Convolutional neural networks, which are specifically designed to deal with the variability of 2D shapes, are shown to outperform all other techniques. Real-life document recognition systems are composed of multiple modules including field extraction, segmentation recognition, and language modeling. A new learning paradigm, called graph transformer networks (GTN), allows such multimodule systems to be trained globally using gradient-based methods so as to minimize an overall performance measure. Two systems for online handwriting recognition are described. Experiments demonstrate the advantage of global training, and the flexibility of graph transformer networks. A graph transformer network for reading a bank cheque is also described. It uses convolutional neural network character recognizers combined with global training techniques to provide record accuracy on business and personal cheques. It is deployed commercially and reads several million cheques per day.

34,930 citations

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TL;DR: This book provides a clear and simple account of the key ideas and algorithms of reinforcement learning, which ranges from the history of the field's intellectual foundations to the most recent developments and applications.

Abstract: Reinforcement learning, one of the most active research areas in artificial intelligence, is a computational approach to learning whereby an agent tries to maximize the total amount of reward it receives when interacting with a complex, uncertain environment. In Reinforcement Learning, Richard Sutton and Andrew Barto provide a clear and simple account of the key ideas and algorithms of reinforcement learning. Their discussion ranges from the history of the field's intellectual foundations to the most recent developments and applications. The only necessary mathematical background is familiarity with elementary concepts of probability. The book is divided into three parts. Part I defines the reinforcement learning problem in terms of Markov decision processes. Part II provides basic solution methods: dynamic programming, Monte Carlo methods, and temporal-difference learning. Part III presents a unified view of the solution methods and incorporates artificial neural networks, eligibility traces, and planning; the two final chapters present case studies and consider the future of reinforcement learning.

32,257 citations

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TL;DR: Inception as mentioned in this paper is a deep convolutional neural network architecture that achieves the new state of the art for classification and detection in the ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge 2014 (ILSVRC14).

Abstract: We propose a deep convolutional neural network architecture codenamed Inception that achieves the new state of the art for classification and detection in the ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge 2014 (ILSVRC14). The main hallmark of this architecture is the improved utilization of the computing resources inside the network. By a carefully crafted design, we increased the depth and width of the network while keeping the computational budget constant. To optimize quality, the architectural decisions were based on the Hebbian principle and the intuition of multi-scale processing. One particular incarnation used in our submission for ILSVRC14 is called GoogLeNet, a 22 layers deep network, the quality of which is assessed in the context of classification and detection.

29,453 citations

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18 Nov 2016

TL;DR: Deep learning as mentioned in this paper is a form of machine learning that enables computers to learn from experience and understand the world in terms of a hierarchy of concepts, and it is used in many applications such as natural language processing, speech recognition, computer vision, online recommendation systems, bioinformatics, and videogames.

Abstract: Deep learning is a form of machine learning that enables computers to learn from experience and understand the world in terms of a hierarchy of concepts. Because the computer gathers knowledge from experience, there is no need for a human computer operator to formally specify all the knowledge that the computer needs. The hierarchy of concepts allows the computer to learn complicated concepts by building them out of simpler ones; a graph of these hierarchies would be many layers deep. This book introduces a broad range of topics in deep learning. The text offers mathematical and conceptual background, covering relevant concepts in linear algebra, probability theory and information theory, numerical computation, and machine learning. It describes deep learning techniques used by practitioners in industry, including deep feedforward networks, regularization, optimization algorithms, convolutional networks, sequence modeling, and practical methodology; and it surveys such applications as natural language processing, speech recognition, computer vision, online recommendation systems, bioinformatics, and videogames. Finally, the book offers research perspectives, covering such theoretical topics as linear factor models, autoencoders, representation learning, structured probabilistic models, Monte Carlo methods, the partition function, approximate inference, and deep generative models. Deep Learning can be used by undergraduate or graduate students planning careers in either industry or research, and by software engineers who want to begin using deep learning in their products or platforms. A website offers supplementary material for both readers and instructors.

26,972 citations