PhD Defense Seminar - Andrew Sage

Friday, April 13, 2018 - 2:10pm
Event Type: 

Speaker: Andrew Sage



A Robust Residual-Based Approach to Random Forest Regression

We introduce a novel robust approach for random forest regression that is useful when the conditional distribution of the response variable, given predictor values, is contaminated. Residual analysis is used to identify unusual response values in training data, and the contributions of these values are down-weighted accordingly. This approach is motivated by the robust fitting procedure first proposed in the context of locally weighted polynomial regression and scatterplot smoothing (Cleveland, 1979). We further demonstrate that tuning the parameter in the robustness algorithm using a weighted cross-validation approach is advantageous when contamination is suspected in training data. We conduct extensive simulations, comparing our method to existing robust approaches, some of which have not been compared to one another in prior studies. Our approach outperforms existing techniques on noisy training datasets with response contamination. While no approach is uniformly optimal, ours is consistently competitive with the best existing approaches for robust random forest regression.



Cleveland, W.S. (1979). Robust locally weighted regression and smoothing scatterplots. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 74(368), 829-836.