Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Committee Chair

Brian Steele

Commitee Members

Dave Patterson, Jon Graham, Solomon Harrar, Jesse Johnson


bagging, tree ensemble


University of Montana


Tree ensembles have proven to be a popular and powerful tool for predictive modeling tasks. The theory behind several of these methods (e.g. boosting) has received considerable attention. However, other tree ensemble techniques (e.g. bagging, random forests) have attracted limited theoretical treatment. Specifically, it has remained somewhat unclear as to why the simple act of randomizing the tree growing algorithm should lead to such dramatic improvements in performance. It has been suggested that a specific type of tree ensemble acts by forming a locally adaptive distance metric [Lin and Jeon, 2006]. We generalize this claim to include all tree ensembles methods and argue that this insight can help to explain the exceptional performance of tree ensemble methods. Finally, we illustrate the use of tree ensemble methods for an ecological niche modeling example involving the presence of malaria vectors in Africa.



© Copyright 2009 Joran Elias