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Ensemble modelling or selecting the best model: Many could be better than one

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 1999

Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur-721 302, West Bengal, India
Department of Solid Mechanics, Materials and Structures, Faculty of Engineering, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel


In the course of data modelling, many models could be created. Much work has been done on formulating guidelines for model selection. However, by and large, these guidelines are conservative or too specific. Instead of using general guidelines, models could be selected for a particular task based on statistical tests. When selecting one model, others are discarded. Instead of losing potential sources of information, models could be combined to yield better performance. We review the basics of model selection and combination and discuss their differences. Two examples of opportunistic and principled combinations are presented. The first demonstrates that mediocre quality models could be combined to yield significantly better performance. The latter is the main contribution of the paper; it describes and illustrates a novel heuristic approach called the SG(k-NN) ensemble for the generation of good-quality and diverse models that can even improve excellent quality models.

Research Article
AI EDAM , Volume 13 , Issue 5 , November 1999 , pp. 377 - 386
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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