I need to detect rules in a data set that contains real-valued features. A simplified example of my samples, defined by features a, b, and c, and having class 0 or 1, might look like this:

2.34, 1, 5.46 => 0

1.23, 0, 7.81 => 1

For this data set, I am interested in detecting rules like:

a > 1 and a<3 and b==1 => class=0

I have checked out association rule algorithms in Weka and then searched online, and they do what I want, but they all seem to need binary features. My question: is there an algorithm that can do what I want, or do I need to hack my own on the basis of existing association rule algorithms?


2 Answers 2


It sounds like a decision tree algorithm (such as rpart in R) will do what you need. Most decision trees will find rules similar to the one you outlined above.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I got so focused on association rules that I forgot completely about decision trees. $\endgroup$
    – ACEG
    Mar 11, 2014 at 15:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 6 years later. Another guy, another user case but the same misfocusing. Just wanted to thank very much for pointing this out. $\endgroup$
    – flashspys
    May 7, 2020 at 20:57

You can normalize and discretize the feature ranges. If you have a training dataset with scores in continuous space (e.g. BM25 retrieval scores), it can be normalized and split into multiple categories such that [0.25-0.50], [0.51-075], [0.76-1.00]. Now the minimum support and confidence can be decided by the specific distribution.


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