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Machine Learning, 2nd Edition by Stephen Marsland

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Chapter 13

Decision by Committee: Ensemble Learning

The old saying has it that two heads are better than one. Which naturally leads to the idea that even more heads are better than that, and ends up with decision by committee, which is famously useless for human activities (as in the old joke that a camel is a horse designed by a committee). For machine learning methods the results are rather more impressive, as we’ll see in this chapter.

The basic idea is that by having lots of learners that each get slightly different results on a dataset—some learning certain things well and some learning others—and putting them together, the results that are generated will be significantly better than any one of them on its own (provided that you put them ...

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