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A Brief Introduction to Adaboost. Hongbo Deng 6 Feb, 2007. Some of the slides are borrowed from Derek Hoiem & Jan ˇSochman . Outline. Background Adaboost Algorithm Theory/Interpretations. What’s So Good About Adaboost. Can be used with many different classifiers

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a brief introduction to adaboost

A Brief Introduction to Adaboost

Hongbo Deng

6 Feb, 2007

Some of the slides are borrowed from Derek Hoiem & Jan ˇSochman.

  • Background
  • Adaboost Algorithm
  • Theory/Interpretations
what s so good about adaboost
What’s So Good About Adaboost
  • Can be used with many different classifiers
  • Improves classification accuracy
  • Commonly used in many areas
  • Simple to implement
  • Not prone to overfitting
a brief history
A Brief History

Resampling for estimating statistic

  • Bootstrapping
  • Bagging
  • Boosting (Schapire 1989)
  • Adaboost (Schapire 1995)

Resampling for classifier design

bootstrap estimation
Bootstrap Estimation
  • Repeatedly draw n samples from D
  • For each set of samples, estimate a statistic
  • The bootstrap estimate is the mean of the individual estimates
  • Used to estimate a statistic (parameter) and its variance
bagging aggregate bootstrapping
Bagging - Aggregate Bootstrapping
  • For i = 1 .. M
    • Draw n*<n samples from D with replacement
    • Learn classifier Ci
  • Final classifier is a vote of C1 .. CM
  • Increases classifier stability/reduces variance





boosting schapire 1989
Boosting (Schapire 1989)
  • Consider creating three component classifiers for a two-category problem through boosting.
  • Randomly select n1 < nsamples from D without replacement to obtain D1
    • Train weak learner C1
  • Select n2 < nsamples from D with half of the samples misclassified by C1 toobtain D2
    • Train weak learner C2
  • Select all remainingsamples from D that C1 and C2 disagree on
    • Train weak learner C3
  • Final classifier is vote of weak learners









adaboost adaptive boosting
Adaboost - Adaptive Boosting
  • Instead of resampling, uses training set re-weighting
    • Each training sample uses a weight to determine the probability of being selected for a training set.
  • AdaBoost is an algorithm for constructing a “strong” classifier as linear combination of “simple” “weak” classifier
  • Final classification based on weighted vote of weak classifiers
adaboost terminology
Adaboost Terminology
  • ht(x) … “weak” or basis classifier (Classifier = Learner = Hypothesis)
  • … “strong” or final classifier
  • Weak Classifier: < 50% error over any distribution
  • Strong Classifier: thresholded linear combination of weak classifier outputs
discrete adaboost algorithm
Discrete Adaboost Algorithm

Each training sample has a weight, which determines the probability of being selected for training the component classifier


y * h(x) = 1

y * h(x) = -1


In this way, AdaBoost “focused on” the informative or “difficult” examples.


In this way, AdaBoost “focused on” the informative or “difficult” examples.

pros and cons of adaboost
Pros and cons of AdaBoost


  • Very simple to implement
  • Does feature selection resulting in relatively simple classifier
  • Fairly good generalization


  • Suboptimal solution
  • Sensitive to noisy data and outliers
  • Duda, Hart, ect – Pattern Classification
  • Freund – “An adaptive version of the boost by majority algorithm”
  • Freund – “Experiments with a new boosting algorithm”
  • Freund, Schapire – “A decision-theoretic generalization of on-line learning and an application to boosting”
  • Friedman, Hastie, etc – “Additive Logistic Regression: A Statistical View of Boosting”
  • Jin, Liu, etc (CMU) – “A New Boosting Algorithm Using Input-Dependent Regularizer”
  • Li, Zhang, etc – “Floatboost Learning for Classification”
  • Opitz, Maclin – “Popular Ensemble Methods: An Empirical Study”
  • Ratsch, Warmuth – “Efficient Margin Maximization with Boosting”
  • Schapire, Freund, etc – “Boosting the Margin: A New Explanation for the Effectiveness of Voting Methods”
  • Schapire, Singer – “Improved Boosting Algorithms Using Confidence-Weighted Predictions”
  • Schapire – “The Boosting Approach to Machine Learning: An overview”
  • Zhang, Li, etc – “Multi-view Face Detection with Floatboost”
  • Bound on training error
  • Adaboost Variants
adaboost variants proposed by friedman
Adaboost Variants Proposed By Friedman
  • LogitBoost
    • Solves
    • Requires care to avoid numerical problems
  • GentleBoost
    • Update is fm(x) = P(y=1 | x) – P(y=0 | x) instead of
      • Bounded [0 1]