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Kernel Factory: An Ensemble of Kernel Machines

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  • M. BALLINGS
  • D. VAN DEN POEL

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Abstract

We propose an ensemble method for kernel machines. The training data is randomly split into a number of mutually exclusive partitions defined by a row and column parameter. Each partition forms an input space and is transformed by a kernel function into a kernel matrix K. Subsequently, each K is used as training data for a base binary classifier (Random Forest). This results in a number of predictions equal to the number of partitions. A weighted average combines the predictions into one final prediction. To optimize the weights, a genetic algorithm is used. This approach has the advantage of simultaneously promoting (1) diversity, (2) accuracy, and (3) computational speed. (1) Diversity is fostered because the individual K’s are based on a subset of features and observations, (2) accuracy is sought by optimizing the weights with the genetic algorithm, and (3) computational speed is obtained because the computation of each K can be parallelized. Using five times two-fold cross validation we benchmark the classification performance of Kernel Factory against Random Forest and Kernel-Induced Random Forest (KIRF). We find that Kernel Factory has significantly better performance than Kernel-Induced Random Forest. When the right kernel is specified Kernel Factory is also significantly better than Random Forest. In addition, an open-source Rsoftware package of the algorithm (kernelFactory) is available from CRAN.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Ballings & D. Van Den Poel, 2012. "Kernel Factory: An Ensemble of Kernel Machines," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/825, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:12/825
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    File URL: http://wps-feb.ugent.be/Papers/wp_12_825.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Buckinx, Wouter & Van den Poel, Dirk, 2005. "Customer base analysis: partial defection of behaviourally loyal clients in a non-contractual FMCG retail setting," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 164(1), pages 252-268, July.
    2. K. Coussement & D. Van Den Poel, 2006. "Churn Prediction in Subscription Services: an Application of Support Vector Machines While Comparing Two Parameter-Selection Techniques," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/412, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Qi Li & Jeffrey Scott Racine, 2006. "Nonparametric Econometrics: Theory and Practice," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8355, June.
    4. Karatzoglou, Alexandros & Smola, Alexandros & Hornik, Kurt & Zeileis, Achim, 2004. "kernlab - An S4 Package for Kernel Methods in R," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 11(i09).
    5. K. Coussement & D. Van den Poel, 2008. "Churn prediction in subscription services: an application of support vector machines while comparing two parameter-selection techniques," Post-Print hal-00788096, HAL.
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