KDD Papers

BDT: Boosting Decision Tables for High Accuracy and Scoring Efficiency

Yin Lou (Airbnb);Mikhail Obukhov (LinkedIn)


In this paper we present gradient boosted decision tables (BDTs). A $d$-dimensional decision table maps a sequence of $d$ boolean tests to a real value in $\mathbb{R}$. We propose novel algorithms to fit decision tables. Our thorough empirical study suggests that decision tables are better weak learners in the gradient boosting framework and can improve the accuracy of the boosted ensemble. In addition, we develop an efficient data structure to represent decision tables and propose a novel fast algorithm to improve the scoring efficiency of boosted ensemble of decision tables. Experiments on public classification and regression datasets demonstrate that our method is able to achieve 1.5x to 6x speedups over boosted regression trees baseline. We complement our experimental evaluation with a bias-variance analysis that explains how different weak models influence the predictive power of the boosted ensemble. Our experiments suggest gradient boosting with randomly backfitted decision tables distinguishes itself as the most accurate method on a number of classification and regression problems. We have deployed a BDT model to LinkedIn news feed system and achieved significant lift on key metrics.