Training Big Random Forests With Little Resources

Authors:
Fabian Gieseke University of Copenhagen
Christian Igel University of Copenhagen

Introduction:

This paper studies the problem of building random forests on large datasets.The authors propose a simple yet effective framework that allows to efficiently construct ensembles of huge trees for hundreds of millions or even billions of training instances using a cheap desktop computer with commodity hardware.

Abstract:

Without access to large compute clusters, building random forests on large datasets is still a challenging problem. This is, in particular, the case if fully-grown trees are desired. We propose a simple yet effective framework that allows to efficiently construct ensembles of huge trees for hundreds of millions or even billions of training instances using a cheap desktop computer with commodity hardware. The basic idea is to consider a multi-level construction scheme, which builds top trees for small random subsets of the available data and which subsequently distributes all training instances to the top trees’ leaves for further processing. While being conceptually simple, the overall efficiency crucially depends on the particular implementation of the different phases. The practical merits of our approach are demonstrated using dense datasets with hundreds of millions of training instances.

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