Generality is predictive of prediction accuracy

Geoffrey I. Webb, Damien Brain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


During knowledge acquisition it frequently occurs that multiple alternative potential rules all appear equally credible. This paper addresses the dearth of formal analysis about how to select between such alternatives. It presents two hypotheses about the expected impact of selecting between classification rules of differing levels of generality in the absence of other evidence about their likely relative performance on unseen data. We argue that the accuracy on unseen data of the more general rule will tend to be closer to that of a default rule for the class than will that of the more specific rule. We also argue that in comparison to the more general rule, the accuracy of the more specific rule on unseen cases will tend to be closer to the accuracy obtained on training data. Experimental evidence is provided in support of these hypotheses. These hypotheses can be useful for selecting between rules in order to achieve specific knowledge acquisition objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Mining
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Methodology, Techniques, and Applications
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)3540325476, 9783540325475
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume3755 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

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