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Bagging (RapidMiner Studio Core)


Bootstrap aggregating (bagging) is a machine learning ensemble meta-algorithm to improve classification and regression models in terms of stability and classification accuracy. It also reduces variance and helps to avoid overfitting. Although it is usually applied to decision tree models, it can be used with any type of model.


The Bagging operator is a nested operator i.e. it has a subprocess. The subprocess must have a learner i.e. an operator that expects an ExampleSet and generates a model. This operator tries to build a better model using the learner provided in its subprocess. You need to have basic understanding of subprocesses in order to apply this operator. Please study the documentation of the Subprocess operator for basic understanding of subprocesses.

The concept of bagging (voting for classification, averaging for regression-type problems with continuous dependent variables of interest) applies to the area of predictive data mining, to combine the predicted classifications (prediction) from multiple models, or from the same type of model for different learning data. It is also used to address the inherent instability of results when applying complex models to relatively small data sets. Suppose your data mining task is to build a model for predictive classification, and the dataset from which to train the model (learning data set, which contains observed classifications) is relatively small. You could repeatedly sub-sample (with replacement) from the dataset, and apply, for example, a tree classifier (e.g., CHAID) to the successive samples. In practice, very different trees will often be grown for the different samples, illustrating the instability of models often evident with small data sets. One method of deriving a single prediction (for new observations) is to use all trees found in the different samples, and to apply some simple voting: The final classification is the one most often predicted by the different trees. Note that some weighted combination of predictions (weighted vote, weighted average) is also possible, and commonly used. A sophisticated algorithm for generating weights for weighted prediction or voting is the Boosting procedure which is available in RapidMiner as AdaBoost operator.

Ensemble Theory Bagging is an ensemble method, therefore an overview of the Ensemble Theory has been discussed here. Ensemble methods use multiple models to obtain a better predictive performance than could be obtained from any of the constituent models. In other words, an ensemble is a technique for combining many weak learners in an attempt to produce a strong learner. Evaluating the prediction of an ensemble typically requires more computation than evaluating the prediction of a single model, so ensembles may be thought of as a way to compensate for poor learning algorithms by performing a lot of extra computation.

An ensemble is itself a supervised learning algorithm, because it can be trained and then used to make predictions. The trained ensemble, therefore, represents a single hypothesis. This hypothesis, however, is not necessarily contained within the hypothesis space of the models from which it is built. Thus, ensembles can be shown to have more flexibility in the functions they can represent. This flexibility can, in theory, enable them to over-fit the training data more than a single model would, but in practice, some ensemble techniques (especially bagging) tend to reduce problems related to over-fitting of the training data.

Empirically, ensembles tend to yield better results when there is a significant diversity among the models. Many ensemble methods, therefore, seek to promote diversity among the models they combine. Although perhaps non-intuitive, more random algorithms (like random decision trees) can be used to produce a stronger ensemble than very deliberate algorithms (like entropy-reducing decision trees). Using a variety of strong learning algorithms, however, has been shown to be more effective than using techniques that attempt to dumb-down the models in order to promote diversity.


  • training set (Data Table)

    This input port expects an ExampleSet. It is the output of the Retrieve operator in the attached Example Process. The output of other operators can also be used as input.


  • model (Bagging Model)

    The meta model is delivered from this output port which can now be applied on an unseen data sets for prediction of the label attribute.

  • example set (Data Table)

    The ExampleSet that was given as input is passed without changing to the output through this port. This is usually used to reuse the same ExampleSet in further operators or to view the ExampleSet in the Results Workspace.


  • sample_ratioThis parameter specifies the fraction of examples to be used for training. Its value must be greater than 0 (i.e. zero examples) and should be lower than or equal to 1 (i.e. entire data set). Range: real
  • iterationsThis parameter specifies the maximum number of iterations of the Bagging algorithm. Range: integer
  • average_confidencesThis parameter specifies whether to average available prediction confidences or not. Range: boolean
  • use_local_random_seedThis parameter indicates if a local random seed should be used for randomization. Using the same value of local random seed will produce the same sample. Changing the value of this parameter changes the way examples are randomized, thus the sample will have a different set of values. Range: boolean
  • local_random_seedThis parameter specifies the local random seed. This parameter is available only if the use local random seed parameter is set to true. Range: integer

Tutorial Processes

Using the Bagging operator for generating a better Decision Tree

The 'Sonar' data set is loaded using the Retrieve operator. The Split Validation operator is applied on it for training and testing a classification model. The Bagging operator is applied in the training subprocess of the Split Validation operator. The Decision Tree operator is applied in the subprocess of the Bagging operator. The iterations parameter of the Bagging operator is set to 10, thus there will be 10 iterations of its subprocess. The Apply Model operator is used in the testing subprocess for applying the model generated by the Bagging operator. The resultant labeled ExampleSet is used by the Performance (Classification) operator for measuring the performance of the model. The classification model and its performance vector are connected to the output and they can be seen in the Results Workspace. You can see that the Bagging operator produced a new model in each iteration. The accuracy of this model turns out to be around 75.81%. If the same process is repeated without the Bagging operator i.e. only the Decision Tree operator is used in the training subprocess then the accuracy of that model turns out to be around 66%. Thus Bagging improved the performance of the base learner (i.e. Decision Tree).