Ordinal decision-tree-based ensemble approaches: The case of controlling the daily local growth rate of the COVID-19 epidemic

Gonen Singer, Matan Marudi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In this research, we develop ordinal decision-tree-based ensemble approaches in which an objective-based information gain measure is used to select the classifying attributes. We demonstrate the applicability of the approaches using AdaBoost and random forest algorithms for the task of classifying the regional daily growth factor of the spread of an epidemic based on a variety of explanatory factors. In such an application, some of the potential classification errors could have critical consequences. The classification tool will enable the spread of the epidemic to be tracked and controlled by yielding insights regarding the relationship between local containment measures and the daily growth factor. In order to benefit maximally from a variety of ordinal and non-ordinal algorithms, we also propose an ensemble majority voting approach to combine different algorithms into one model, thereby leveraging the strengths of each algorithm. We perform experiments in which the task is to classify the daily COVID-19 growth rate factor based on environmental factors and containment measures for 19 regions of Italy. We demonstrate that the ordinal algorithms outperform their non-ordinal counterparts with improvements in the range of 6-25% for a variety of common performance indices. The majority voting approach that combines ordinal and non-ordinal models yields a further improvement of between 3% and 10%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number871
Issue number8
StatePublished - 7 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.


  • AdaBoost
  • COVID-19
  • Decision trees
  • Ensemble algorithms
  • Epidemic
  • Information gain
  • Objective-based entropy
  • Ordinal classification
  • Random forest


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