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## Handle Imbalanced Data or Unequal Misclassification Costs in Classification Ensembles

In many real-world applications, you might prefer to treat classes in your data asymmetrically. For example, you might have data with many more observations of one class than of any other. Or you might work on a problem in which misclassifying observations of one class has more severe consequences than misclassifying observations of another class. In such situations, you can use two optional parameters for `fitcensemble`: `prior` and `cost`.

By using `prior`, you set prior class probabilities (that is, class probabilities used for training). Use this option if some classes are under- or overrepresented in your training set. For example, you might obtain your training data by simulation. Because simulating class `A` is more expensive than class `B`, you opt to generate fewer observations of class `A` and more observations of class `B`. You expect, however, that class `A` and class `B` are mixed in a different proportion in the real world. In this case, set prior probabilities for class `A` and `B` approximately to the values you expect to observe in the real world. `fitcensemble` normalizes prior probabilities to make them add up to `1`; multiplying all prior probabilities by the same positive factor does not affect the result of classification.

If classes are adequately represented in the training data but you want to treat them asymmetrically, use the `cost` parameter. Suppose you want to classify benign and malignant tumors in cancer patients. Failure to identify a malignant tumor (false negative) has far more severe consequences than misidentifying benign as malignant (false positive). You should assign high cost to misidentifying malignant as benign and low cost to misidentifying benign as malignant.

You must pass misclassification costs as a square matrix with nonnegative elements. Element `C(i,j)` of this matrix is the cost of classifying an observation into class `j` if the true class is `i`. The diagonal elements `C(i,i)` of the cost matrix must be `0`. For the previous example, you can choose malignant tumor to be class 1 and benign tumor to be class 2. Then you can set the cost matrix to

`$\left[\begin{array}{cc}0& c\\ 1& 0\end{array}\right]$`

where c > 1 is the cost of misidentifying a malignant tumor as benign. Costs are relative—multiplying all costs by the same positive factor does not affect the result of classification.

If you have only two classes, `fitcensemble` adjusts their prior probabilities using ${\stackrel{˜}{P}}_{i}={C}_{ij}{P}_{i}$for class i = 1,2 and j ≠ i. Pi are prior probabilities either passed into `fitcensemble` or computed from class frequencies in the training data, and ${\stackrel{˜}{P}}_{i}$ are adjusted prior probabilities. Then `fitcensemble` uses the default cost matrix

`$\left[\begin{array}{cc}0& 1\\ 1& 0\end{array}\right]$`

and these adjusted probabilities for training its weak learners. Manipulating the cost matrix is thus equivalent to manipulating the prior probabilities.

If you have three or more classes, `fitcensemble` also converts input costs into adjusted prior probabilities. This conversion is more complex. First, `fitcensemble` attempts to solve a matrix equation described in Zhou and Liu . If it fails to find a solution, `fitcensemble` applies the “average cost” adjustment described in Breiman et al. . For more information, see Zadrozny, Langford, and Abe .

### Train Ensemble With Unequal Classification Costs

This example shows how to train an ensemble of classification trees with unequal classification costs. This example uses data on patients with hepatitis to see if they live or die as a result of the disease. The data set is described at UCI Machine Learning Data Repository.

Read the hepatitis data set from the UCI repository as a character array. Then convert the result to a cell array of character vectors using `textscan`. Specify a cell array of character vectors containing the variable names.

```hepatitis = textscan(urlread(['http://archive.ics.uci.edu/ml/' ... 'machine-learning-databases/hepatitis/hepatitis.data']),... '%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f%f','TreatAsEmpty','?',... 'Delimiter',','); size(hepatitis) VarNames = {'dieOrLive' 'age' 'sex' 'steroid' 'antivirals' 'fatigue' ... 'malaise' 'anorexia' 'liverBig' 'liverFirm' 'spleen' ... 'spiders' 'ascites' 'varices' 'bilirubin' 'alkPhosphate' 'sgot' ... 'albumin' 'protime' 'histology'}; ```
```ans = 1 20 ```

`hepatitis` is a 1-by-20 cell array of character vectors. The cells correspond to the response (`liveOrDie`) and 19 heterogeneous predictors.

Specify a numeric matrix containing the predictors and a cell vector containing `'Die'` and `'Live'`, which are response categories. The response contains two values: `1` indicates that a patient died, and `2` indicates that a patient lived. Specify a cell array of character vectors for the response using the response categories. The first variable in `hepatitis` contains the response.

```X = cell2mat(hepatitis(2:end)); ClassNames = {'Die' 'Live'}; Y = ClassNames(hepatitis{:,1}); ```

`X` is a numeric matrix containing the 19 predictors. `Y` is a cell array of character vectors containing the response.

Inspect the data for missing values.

```figure; barh(sum(isnan(X),1)/size(X,1)); h = gca; h.YTick = 1:numel(VarNames) - 1; h.YTickLabel = VarNames(2:end); ylabel 'Predictor'; xlabel 'Fraction of missing values'; ``` Most predictors have missing values, and one has nearly 45% of the missing values. Therefore, use decision trees with surrogate splits for better accuracy. Because the data set is small, training time with surrogate splits should be tolerable.

Create a classification tree template that uses surrogate splits.

```rng(0,'twister') % for reproducibility t = templateTree('surrogate','all'); ```

Examine the data or the description of the data to see which predictors are categorical.

```X(1:5,:) ```
```ans = Columns 1 through 7 30.0000 2.0000 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 50.0000 1.0000 1.0000 2.0000 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 78.0000 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 31.0000 1.0000 NaN 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 34.0000 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 Columns 8 through 14 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 1.0000 1.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 0.9000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 0.7000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 0.7000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 2.0000 1.0000 Columns 15 through 19 85.0000 18.0000 4.0000 NaN 1.0000 135.0000 42.0000 3.5000 NaN 1.0000 96.0000 32.0000 4.0000 NaN 1.0000 46.0000 52.0000 4.0000 80.0000 1.0000 NaN 200.0000 4.0000 NaN 1.0000 ```

It appears that predictors 2 through 13 are categorical, as well as predictor 19. You can confirm this inference using the data set description at UCI Machine Learning Data Repository.

List the categorical variables.

```catIdx = [2:13,19]; ```

Create a cross-validated ensemble using 150 learners and the `GentleBoost` algorithm.

```Ensemble = fitcensemble(X,Y,'Method','GentleBoost', ... 'NumLearningCycles',150,'Learners',t,'PredictorNames',VarNames(2:end), ... 'LearnRate',0.1,'CategoricalPredictors',catIdx,'KFold',5); figure; plot(kfoldLoss(Ensemble,'Mode','cumulative','LossFun','exponential')); xlabel('Number of trees'); ylabel('Cross-validated exponential loss'); ``` Inspect the confusion matrix to see which patients the ensemble predicts correctly.

```[yFit,sFit] = kfoldPredict(Ensemble); confusionmat(Y,yFit,'Order',ClassNames) ```
```ans = 19 13 11 112 ```

Of the 123 patient who live, the ensemble predicts correctly that 112 will live. But for the 32 patients who die of hepatitis, the ensemble only predicts correctly that about half will die of hepatitis.

There are two types of error in the predictions of the ensemble:

• Predicting that the patient lives, but the patient dies

• Predicting that the patient dies, but the patient lives

Suppose you believe that the first error is five times worse than the second. Create a new classification cost matrix that reflects this belief.

```cost.ClassNames = ClassNames; cost.ClassificationCosts = [0 5; 1 0]; ```

Create a new cross-validated ensemble using `cost` as the misclassification cost, and inspect the resulting confusion matrix.

```EnsembleCost = fitcensemble(X,Y,'Method','GentleBoost', ... 'NumLearningCycles',150,'Learners',t,'PredictorNames',VarNames(2:end), ... 'LearnRate',0.1,'CategoricalPredictors',catIdx,'KFold',5,'Cost',cost); [yFitCost,sFitCost] = kfoldPredict(EnsembleCost); confusionmat(Y,yFitCost,'Order',ClassNames) ```
```ans = 20 12 8 115 ```

As expected, the new ensemble does a better job classifying the patients who die. Somewhat surprisingly, the new ensemble also does a better job classifying the patients who live, though the result is not statistically significantly better. The results of the cross validation are random, so this result is simply a statistical fluctuation. The result seems to indicate that the classification of patients who live is not very sensitive to the cost.

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