Jason V. Davis, Jungwoo Ha, Christopher J. Rossbach, Hany E. Ramadan, and Emmett Witchel
In some learning settings, the cost of acquiring features for classification must be paid up front, before the classifier is evaluated. In this paper, we introduce the forensic classification problem and present a new algorithm for building decision trees that maximizes classification accuracy while minimizing total feature costs. By expressing the ID3 decision tree algorithm in an information theoretic context, we derive our algorithm from a well-formulated problem objective. We evaluate our algorithm across several datasets and show that, for a given level of accuracy, our algorithm builds cheaper trees than existing methods. Finally, we apply our algorithm to a real-world system, CLARIFY. CLARIFY classifies unknown or unexpected program errors by collecting statistics during program runtime which are then used for decision tree classification after an error has occurred. We demonstrate that if the classifier used by the CLARIFY system is trained with our algorithm, the computational overhead (equivalently, total feature costs) can decrease by many orders of magnitude with only a slight (< 1%) reduction in classification accuracy.