Scaling Up the Accuracy of Naive-Bayes Classifiers: A Decision-Tree Hybrid

Ron Kohavi

Naive-Bayes induction algorithms were previously shown to be surprisingly accurate on many classification tasks even when the conditional independence assumption on which they are based is violated. However, most studies were done on small databases. We show that in some larger databases, the accuracy of Naive-Bayes does not scale up as well as decision trees. We then propose a new algorithm, NBTree, which induces a hybrid of decision-tree classifiers and Naive-Bayes classifiers: the decision-tree nodes contain univariate splits as regular decision-trees, but the leaves contain Naive-Bayesian classifiers. The approach retains the interpretability of Naive-Bayes and decision trees, while resulting in classifiers that frequently outperform both constituents, especially in the larger databases tested.

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