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I am new to this topic, and in some scientific papers I've been reading about prediction in sports I encountered the term rule based reasoner. Is it this term the same as a semantic reasoner( where the two main directions are forward and backwards chaining?). If yes, can you point out the difference between a decision tree and this? Because for me, it seems pretty much the same.

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Decision tree classifiers could be easily converted to rule based classifiers in data mining and vice Versa. please have a look at "Introduction to Data Mining", chapters 4 and 5.

Usually it depends on the data characteristics, how to choose between these two methods and which of the mentioned methods give you smaller classification errors.

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