Performance of feature-selection methods in the classification of high-dimension data

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Type: Journal Publication


Abstract: Contemporary biological technologies produce extremely high-dimensional data sets from which to design classifiers, with 20,000 or more potential features being common place. In addition, sample sizes tend to be small. In such settings, feature selection is an inevitable part of classifier design. Heretofore, there have been a number of comparative studies for feature selection, but they have either considered settings with much smaller dimensionality than those occurring in current bioinformatics applications or constrained their study to a few real data sets. This study compares some basic feature-selection methods in settings involving thousands of features, using both model-based synthetic data and real data. It defines distribution models involving different numbers of markers (useful features) versus non-markers (useless features) and different kinds of relations among the features. Under this framework, it evaluates the performances of feature-selection algorithms for different distribution models and classifiers. Both classification error and the number of discovered markers are computed. Although the results clearly show that none of the considered feature-selection methods performs best across all scenarios, there are some general trends relative to sample size and relations among the features. For instance, the classifier-independent univariate filter methods have similar trends. Filter methods such as the t-test have better or similar performance with wrapper methods for harder problems. This improved performance is usually accompanied with significant peaking. Wrapper methods have better performance when the sample size is sufficiently large. ReliefF, the classifier-independent multivariate filter method, has worse performance than univariate filter methods in most cases; however, ReliefF-based wrapper methods show performance similar to their t-test-based counterparts.

Cited as: J. Hua, W. Tembe and E. R. Dougherty, "Performance of feature-selection methods in the classification of high-dimension data", Pattern Recognition vol. 42, 409-424 2009

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