Boosting [Freund Schapire1996,Schapire1990] encompasses a family of methods. The focus of these methods is to produce a series of classifiers. The training set used for each member of the series is chosen based on the performance of the earlier classifier(s) in the series. In Boosting, examples that are incorrectly predicted by previous classifiers in the series are chosen more often than examples that were correctly predicted. Thus Boosting attempts to produce new classifiers that are better able to predict examples for which the current ensemble's performance is poor. (Note that in Bagging, the resampling of the training set is not dependent on the performance of the earlier classifiers.)
In this work we examine two new and powerful forms of Boosting: Arcing [Breiman1996b] and Ada-Boosting [Freund Schapire1996]. Like Bagging, Arcing chooses a training set of size N for classifier K+1 by probabilistically selecting (with replacement) examples from the original N training examples. Unlike Bagging, however, the probability of selecting an example is not equal across the training set. This probability depends on how often that example was misclassified by the previous K classifiers. Ada-Boosting can use the approach of (a) selecting a set of examples based on the probabilities of the examples, or (b) simply using all of the examples and weight the error of each example by the probability for that example (i.e., examples with higher probabilities have more effect on the error). This latter approach has the clear advantage that each example is incorporated (at least in part) in the training set. Furthermore, Friedman et al.  have demonstrated that this form of Ada-Boosting can be viewed as a form of additive modeling for optimizing a logistic loss function. In this work, however, we have chosen to use the approach of subsampling the data to ensure a fair empirical comparison (in part due to the restarting reason discussed below).
Both Arcing and Ada-Boosting initially set the probability of picking each example to be 1/N . These methods then recalculate these probabilities after each trained classifier is added to the ensemble. For Ada-Boosting, let Ek be the sum of the probabilities of the misclassified instances for the currently trained classifier Ck . The probabilities for the next trial are generated by multiplying the probabilities of Ck 's incorrectly classified instances by the factor Bk = (1 - Ek)/Ek and then renormalizing all probabilities so that their sum equals 1. Ada-Boosting combines the classifiers C1, ... ,Ck using weighted voting where Ck has weight log(Bk). These weights allow Ada-Boosting to discount the predictions of classifiers that are not very accurate on the overall problem. Friedman et al  have also suggested an alternative mechanism that fits together the predictions of the classifiers as an additive model using a maximum likelihood criterion.
In this work, we use the revision described by Breiman [1996b] where we reset all the weights to be equal and restart if either Ek is not less than 0.5 or Ek becomes 0.1 By resetting the weights we do not disadvantage the Ada-Boosting learner in those cases where it reaches these values of Ek; the Ada-Boosting learner always incorporates the same number of classifiers as other methods we tested. To make this feasible, we are forced to use the approach of selecting a data set probabilistically rather than weighting the examples, otherwise a deterministic method such as C4.5 would cycle and generate duplicate members of the ensemble. That is, resetting the weights to 1/N would cause the learner to repeat the decision tree learned as the first member of the ensemble, and this would lead to reweighting the data set the same as for the second member of the ensemble, and so on. Randomly selecting examples for the data set based on the example probabilities alleviates this problem.
Arcing-x4 [Breiman1996b] (which we will refer to simply as Arcing) started out as a simple mechanism for evaluating the effect of Boosting methods where the resulting classifiers were combined without weighting the votes. Arcing uses a simple mechanism for determining the probabilities of including examples in the training set. For the i th example in the training set, the value mi refers to the number of times that example was misclassified by the previous K classifiers. The probability pi for selecting example i to be part of classifier K+1 's training set is defined as Breiman chose the value of the power (4) empirically after trying several different values [Breiman1996b]. Although this mechanism does not have the weighted voting of Ada-Boosting it still produces accurate ensembles and is simple to implement; thus we include this method (along with Ada-Boosting) in our empirical evaluation.
Figure 2 shows a hypothetical run of Boosting. Note that the first training set would be the same as Bagging; however, later training sets accentuate examples that were misclassified by the earlier member of the ensembles. In this figure, example 1 is a ``hard'' example that previous classifiers tend to misclassify. With the second training set, example 1 occurs multiple times, as do examples 4 and 5 since they were left out of the first training set and, in this case, misclassified by the first learner. For the final training set, example 1 becomes the predominant example chosen (whereas no single example is accentuated with Bagging); thus, the overall test-set error for this classifier might become very high. Despite this, however, Boosting will probably obtain a lower error rate when it combines the output of these four classifiers since it focuses on correctly predicting previously misclassified examples and weights the predictions of the different classifiers based on their accuracy for the training set. But Boosting can also overfit in the presence of noise (as we empirically show in Section 3).