*Tapio Elomaa and Matti Kääriäinen, University of Helsinki*

Sampling can enhance processing of large training example databases, but without knowing all of the data, or the example producing process, it is impossible to know in advance what size of a sample to choose in order to guarantee good performance. Progressive sampling has been suggested to circumvent this problem. The idea in it is to increase the sample size according to some schedule until accuracy close to that which would be obtained using all of the data is reached. How to determine this stopping time efficiently and accurately is a central difficulty in progressive sampling. We study stopping time determination by approximating the generalization error of the hypothesis rather than by assuming the often observed shape for the learning curve and trying to detect whether the final plateau has been reached in the curve. We use data dependent generalization error bounds. Instead of using the common cross validation approach, we use the recently introduced Rademacher penalties, which have been observed to give good results on simple concept classes. We experiment with two-level decision trees built by the learning algorithm T2. It finds a hypothesis with the minimal error with respect to the sample. The theoretically well motivated stopping time determination based on Rademacher penalties gives results that are much closer to those attained using heuristics based on assumptions on learning curve shape than distribution independent estimates based on VC dimension do.

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