Gradient Boosted Decision Tree Neural Network

17 Oct 2019  ·  Mohammad Saberian, Pablo Delgado, Yves Raimond ·

In this paper we propose a method to build a neural network that is similar to an ensemble of decision trees. We first illustrate how to convert a learned ensemble of decision trees to a single neural network with one hidden layer and an input transformation. We then relax some properties of this network such as thresholds and activation functions to train an approximately equivalent decision tree ensemble. The final model, Hammock, is surprisingly simple: a fully connected two layers neural network where the input is quantized and one-hot encoded. Experiments on large and small datasets show this simple method can achieve performance similar to that of Gradient Boosted Decision Trees.

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