Super Learner

Mark J. van der Laan 1 , Eric C Polley 2  and Alan E. Hubbard 3
  • 1 University of California, Berkeley
  • 2 University of California, Berkeley
  • 3 University of California, Berkeley

When trying to learn a model for the prediction of an outcome given a set of covariates, a statistician has many estimation procedures in their toolbox. A few examples of these candidate learners are: least squares, least angle regression, random forests, and spline regression. Previous articles (van der Laan and Dudoit (2003); van der Laan et al. (2006); Sinisi et al. (2007)) theoretically validated the use of cross validation to select an optimal learner among many candidate learners. Motivated by this use of cross validation, we propose a new prediction method for creating a weighted combination of many candidate learners to build the super learner. This article proposes a fast algorithm for constructing a super learner in prediction which uses V-fold cross-validation to select weights to combine an initial set of candidate learners. In addition, this paper contains a practical demonstration of the adaptivity of this so called super learner to various true data generating distributions. This approach for construction of a super learner generalizes to any parameter which can be defined as a minimizer of a loss function.

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SAGMB publishes significant research on the application of statistical ideas to problems arising from computational biology. The range of topics includes linkage mapping, association studies, gene finding and sequence alignment, protein structure prediction, design and analysis of microarrary data, molecular evolution and phylogenetic trees, DNA topology, and data base search strategies.

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