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Net-DNF: Effective Deep Modeling of Tabular Data

Liran Katzir · Gal Elidan · Ran El-Yaniv

Keywords: [ Predictive Modeling ] [ tabular data ] [ Architectures ] [ neural networks ]


A challenging open question in deep learning is how to handle tabular data. Unlike domains such as image and natural language processing, where deep architectures prevail, there is still no widely accepted neural architecture that dominates tabular data. As a step toward bridging this gap, we present Net-DNF a novel generic architecture whose inductive bias elicits models whose structure corresponds to logical Boolean formulas in disjunctive normal form (DNF) over affine soft-threshold decision terms. Net-DNFs also promote localized decisions that are taken over small subsets of the features. We present an extensive experiments showing that Net-DNFs significantly and consistently outperform fully connected networks over tabular data. With relatively few hyperparameters, Net-DNFs open the door to practical end-to-end handling of tabular data using neural networks. We present ablation studies, which justify the design choices of Net-DNF including the inductive bias elements, namely, Boolean formulation, locality, and feature selection.

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