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Discovering Latent Strategies

Last modified: 2011-08-04

#### Abstract

Strategy mining is a new area of research about discovering strategies in decision-making. In this paper, we formulate the strategy-mining problem as a clustering problem, called the latent-strategy problem. In a latent-strategy problem, a corpus of data instances is given, each of which is represented by a set of features and a decision label. The inherent dependency of the decision label on the features is governed by a latent strategy. The objective is to find clusters, each of which contains data instances governed by the same strategy. Existing clustering algorithms are inappropriate to cluster dependency because they either assume feature independency (e.g., K-means) or only consider the co-occurrence of features without explicitly modeling the special dependency of the decision label on other features (e.g., Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA)). In this paper, we present a baseline unsupervised learning algorithm for dependency clustering. Our model-based clustering algorithm iterates between an assignment step and a minimization step to learn a mixture of decision tree models that represent latent strategies. Similar to the Expectation Maximization algorithm, our algorithm is grounded in the statistical learning theory. Different from other clustering algorithms, our algorithm is irrelevant-feature resistant and its learned clusters (modeled by decision trees) are strongly interpretable and predictive. We systematically evaluate our algorithm using a common law dataset comprised of actual cases. Experimental results show that our algorithm significantly outperforms K-means and LDA on clustering dependency.

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