Learning from Data Streams with Randomized Forests
Date: 7 February 2022
University of Exeter
PhD in Computer Science
Non-stationary streaming data poses a familiar challenge in machine learning: the need to obtain fast and accurate predictions. A data stream is a continuously generated sequence of data, with data typically arriving rapidly. They are often characterised by a non-stationary generative process, with concept drift occurring as the ...
Non-stationary streaming data poses a familiar challenge in machine learning: the need to obtain fast and accurate predictions. A data stream is a continuously generated sequence of data, with data typically arriving rapidly. They are often characterised by a non-stationary generative process, with concept drift occurring as the process changes. Such processes are commonly seen in the real world, such as in advertising, shopping trends, environmental conditions, electricity monitoring and traffic monitoring. Typical stationary algorithms are ill-suited for use with concept drifting data, thus necessitating more targeted methods. Tree-based methods are a popular approach to this problem, traditionally focussing on the use of the Hoeffding bound in order to guarantee performance relative to a stationary scenario. However, there are limited single learners available for regression scenarios, and those that do exist often struggle to choose between similarly discriminative splits, leading to longer training times and worse performance. This limited pool of single learners in turn hampers the performance of ensemble approaches in which they act as base learners. In this thesis we seek to remedy this gap in the literature, developing methods which focus on increasing randomization to both improve predictive performance and reduce the training times of tree-based ensemble methods. In particular, we have chosen to investigate the use of randomization as it is known to be able to improve generalization error in ensembles, and is also expected to lead to fast training times, thus being a natural method of handling the problems typically experienced by single learners. We begin in a regression scenario, introducing the Adaptive Trees for Streaming with Extreme Randomization (ATSER) algorithm; a partially randomized approach based on the concept of Extremely Randomized (extra) trees. The ATSER algorithm incrementally trains trees, using the Hoeffding bound to select the best of a random selection of splits. Simultaneously, the trees also detect and adapt to changes in the data stream. Unlike many traditional streaming algorithms ATSER trees can easily be extended to include nominal features. We find that compared to other contemporary methods ensembles of ATSER trees lead to improved predictive performance whilst also reducing run times. We then demonstrate the Adaptive Categorisation Trees for Streaming with Extreme Randomization (ACTSER) algorithm, an adaption of the ATSER algorithm to the more traditional categorization scenario, again showing improved predictive performance and reduced runtimes. The inclusion of nominal features is particularly novel in this setting since typical categorization approaches struggle to handle them. Finally we examine a completely randomized scenario, where an ensemble of trees is generated prior to having access to the data stream, while also considering multivariate splits in addition to the traditional axis-aligned approach. We find that through the combination of a forgetting mechanism in linear models and dynamic weighting for ensemble members, we are able to avoid explicitly testing for concept drift. This leads to fast ensembles with strong predictive performance, whilst also requiring fewer parameters than other contemporary methods. For each of the proposed methods in this thesis, we demonstrate empirically that they are effective over a variety of different non-stationary data streams, including on multiple types of concept drift. Furthermore, in comparison to other contemporary data streaming algorithms, we find the biggest improvements in performance are on noisy data streams.
Item views 0
Full item downloads 0