MATLAB Examples

LPBoost and TotalBoost for Small Ensembles

This example shows how to obtain the benefits of the LPBoost and TotalBoost algorithms. These algorithms share two beneficial characteristics:

  • They are self-terminating, which means you do not have to figure out how many members to include.
  • They produce ensembles with some very small weights, enabling you to safely remove ensemble members.


Load the data

Load the ionosphere data set.

load ionosphere

Create the classification ensembles

Create ensembles for classifying the ionosphere data using the LPBoost, TotalBoost, and, for comparison, AdaBoostM1 algorithms. It is hard to know how many members to include in an ensemble. For LPBoost and TotalBoost, try using 500. For comparison, also use 500 for AdaBoostM1.

The default weak learners for boosting methods are decision trees with the MaxNumSplits property set to 10. These trees tend to fit better than tree stumps (with 1 maximum split) and may overfit more. Therefore, to prevent overfitting, use tree stumps as weak learners for the ensembles.

rng default % For reproducibility
T = 500;
treeStump = templateTree('MaxNumSplits',1);
adaStump = fitcensemble(X,Y,'Method','AdaBoostM1','NumLearningCycles',T, ...
totalStump = fitcensemble(X,Y,'Method','TotalBoost','NumLearningCycles',T, ...
lpStump = fitcensemble(X,Y,'Method','LPBoost','NumLearningCycles',T, ...
hold on
hold off
xlabel('Number of stumps');
ylabel('Training error');

All three algorithms achieve perfect prediction on the training data after a while.

Examine the number of members in all three ensembles.

[adaStump.NTrained totalStump.NTrained lpStump.NTrained]
ans =

   500    52    76

AdaBoostM1 trained all 500 members. The other two algorithms stopped training early.

Cross validate the ensembles

Cross validate the ensembles to better determine ensemble accuracy.

cvlp = crossval(lpStump,'KFold',5);
cvtotal = crossval(totalStump,'KFold',5);
cvada = crossval(adaStump,'KFold',5);

hold on
hold off
xlabel('Ensemble size');
ylabel('Cross-validated error');

The results show that each boosting algorithm achieves a loss of 10% or lower with 50 ensemble members.

Compact and remove ensemble members

To reduce the ensemble sizes, compact them, and then use removeLearners. The question is, how many learners should you remove? The cross-validated loss curves give you one measure. For another, examine the learner weights for LPBoost and TotalBoost after compacting.

cada = compact(adaStump);
clp = compact(lpStump);
ctotal = compact(totalStump);

title('LPBoost weights')
title('TotalBoost weights')

Both LPBoost and TotalBoost show clear points where the ensemble member weights become negligible.

Remove the unimportant ensemble members.

cada = removeLearners(cada,150:cada.NTrained);
clp = removeLearners(clp,60:clp.NTrained);
ctotal = removeLearners(ctotal,40:ctotal.NTrained);

Check that removing these learners does not affect ensemble accuracy on the training data.

[loss(cada,X,Y) loss(clp,X,Y) loss(ctotal,X,Y)]
ans =

     0     0     0

Check the resulting compact ensemble sizes.

s(1) = whos('cada');
s(2) = whos('clp');
s(3) = whos('ctotal');
ans =


ans =


ans =


The sizes of the compact ensembles are approximately proportional to the number of members in each.