Controlling hyperparameters in Scikit-Learn Decision Trees for improved performance

Scikit-learn is a popular Python library that provides various tools for machine learning, including a decision tree classifier and regressor. One of the advantages of using scikit-learn is that it allows for easy control of various decision tree hyperparameters.


from sklearn.tree import DecisionTreeClassifier

# Create an instance of the DecisionTreeClassifier
clf = DecisionTreeClassifier(criterion='entropy', max_depth=5, 
min_samples_split=2, min_samples_leaf=1, max_features='sqrt')

# Fit the classifier to the training data, y_train)

# Predict on the test data
y_pred = clf.predict(X_test)

In this example, we are using the entropy criterion for the splitting process, a maximum depth of 5, a minimum of 2 samples required to split an internal node, a minimum of 1 sample required to be at a leaf node, and the square root of the number of features for the maximum number of features considered when splitting a node.


The criterion hyperparameter controls the splitting process and can be set to either gini or entropy. Gini is the default criterion, but entropy can lead to a more balanced tree.

The max_depth hyperparameter controls the maximum depth of the tree, which can prevent overfitting by limiting the number of splits.

The min_samples_split and min_samples_leaf hyperparameters control the minimum number of samples required to split an internal node or be at a leaf node, respectively. These hyperparameters can prevent overfitting by ensuring that nodes do not have too few samples.

The max_features hyperparameter controls the maximum number of features considered when splitting a node. It can be set to a specific value, such as sqrt, which corresponds to the square root of the total number of features. This can help to prevent overfitting by reducing the number of features considered at each split.