A decision tree is a map of the possible outcomes of a series of related choices. It allows an individual or organization to weigh possible actions against one another based on their costs, probabilities, and benefits.

As the name goes, it uses a tree-like model of decisions. They can be used either to drive informal discussion or to map out an algorithm that predicts the best choice mathematically.

A decision tree typically starts with a single node, which branches into possible outcomes. Each of those outcomes leads to additional nodes, which branch off into other possibilities. This gives it a tree-like shape.

There are three different types of nodes: chance nodes, decision nodes, and end nodes. A chance node, represented by a circle, shows the probabilities of certain results. A decision node, represented by a square, shows a decision to be made, and an end node shows the final outcome of a decision path.