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Decision Tree in Python

Chiranjivi Viru

2 years ago

Decision Tree in Python | insideAIML
Table of Contents
  • Introduction.
  • Types of Decision Trees.
             1. Categorical Decision Tree
             2. Continues Decision Tree
  • Terminology related to Decision Tree
  • How decision tree works?
  • Entropy
  • Information Gain


          Classification or Regression can be categorized in two steps that is learning and predicting. In the first stage learning, the algorithm will learn from the training data and predict the unseen data in the second stage that is prediction. For these prediction part we are having plenty of algorithms, in all these algorithms Decision tree algorithm has its own value and demand in these set of algorithms because of its high interpret-ability and systematic representation.
Decision tree comes under the family of supervised learning algorithms. unlike other algorithms decision tree has capability to handle classification and regression based problems. 
The goal of decision tree helps to find the value or class of the target variable from the algorithm which has learned by the prior data or training data.

Types of Decision Trees

In general Decision tree has two types:

Categorical Decision Tree

          If a target variable contains categorical column, which includes binary levels or multi level uses categorical Decision Tree.

Continues Decision Tree

         If a target variable contains continues values(might be in decimals) uses continues Decision tree.
Let me take a example and explain you clearly:-
If they are handling a problem like loan payments. Customer will be paying his loan amount or not. That is here we are trying to predict (yes/no).  This comes under problem of Categorical Decision Tree. In second stage we have to predict, how much amount will be payed to bank, as here the target variable is continues it comes for Continues Decision tree. 

Terminology related to Decision Tree

1. Root Node:- Root Node gives us the information that particular attribute is more important in the Data Set. So, our algorithm selected that feature or attribute as a root node. This root node is selected based on entropy or Information gain.
2. Splitting:-  The process of splitting node into two or more sub-nodes.
3. Decision Node:- When sub-node splits into another sub-node, then is called Decision Node, because here splitting is based on decision of the sub-node.
4. Leaf or Terminal Node:- Nodes which can't be further split is known as Leaf Node or Terminal Node.
5. Pruning:- When we cut or trim the sub-nodes of a decision node, this process is called Pruning, In simple words we can say pruning is the opposite of splitting. 
6. Branch or Sub-tree:- The sub-section or sub part of entire tree is know as Branch.
6. Parent Node & Child Node:- A node which can which can be split is known as Parent Node and these sub-nodes are known as Child Nodes.

How decision tree works?

          The decision of making strategic splits affects on the accuracy of the model. The decision criteria is different for classification and regression.
It uses entropy or Information gain to select the root node and from there the splitting starts. For the next split it selects the node which has low entropy or high Information gain. Entropy helps in identifying the randomness of the model. While coming to pruning part as Machine Learning expert we should decide the pruning part. That is up-to which part of the tree have to pruned. If we prune too much model will be affected with under fitting or If we allowed to make more splits, model will be suffered with over fitting.


          Entropy is the measure of randomness. If we are having the higher entropy, it is difficult to draw conclusions out of that information. So, that always we should select entropy that is having less value.
graph | insideAIML
From the above graph, we can clearly say that H(X), the entropy is zero when the probability value is 0 or 1. We can find the maximum entropy when the probability value is 0.5. That is the reason why, we can't make any conclusion, when we have high entropy.

Information Gain

          In simple terminology we can say Information gain is (Entropy before split) - (Entropy after split). Information Gain, or IG for short, measures the reduction in entropy or surprise by splitting a dataset according to a given value of a random variable.
A larger information gain suggests a lower entropy group or groups of samples, and hence less surprise.
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