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Title: The role of classifiers in feature selection : number vs nature
Author: Chrysostomou, Kyriacos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 3235
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2008
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Wrapper feature selection approaches are widely used to select a small subset of relevant features from a dataset. However, Wrappers suffer from the fact that they only use a single classifier when selecting the features. The problem of using a single classifier is that each classifier is of a different nature and will have its own biases. This means that each classifier will select different feature subsets. To address this problem, this thesis aims to investigate the effects of using different classifiers for Wrapper feature selection. More specifically, it aims to investigate the effects of using different number of classifiers and classifiers of different nature. This aim is achieved by proposing a new data mining method called Wrapper-based Decision Trees (WDT). The WDT method has the ability to combine multiple classifiers from four different families, including Bayesian Network, Decision Tree, Nearest Neighbour and Support Vector Machine, to select relevant features and visualise the relationships among the selected features using decision trees. Specifically, the WDT method is applied to investigate three research questions of this thesis: (1) the effects of number of classifiers on feature selection results; (2) the effects of nature of classifiers on feature selection results; and (3) which of the two (i.e., number or nature of classifiers) has more of an effect on feature selection results. Two types of user preference datasets derived from Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) are used with WDT to assist in answering these three research questions. The results from the investigation revealed that the number of classifiers and nature of classifiers greatly affect feature selection results. In terms of number of classifiers, the results showed that few classifiers selected many relevant features whereas many classifiers selected few relevant features. In addition, it was found that using three classifiers resulted in highly accurate feature subsets. In terms of nature of classifiers, it was showed that Decision Tree, Bayesian Network and Nearest Neighbour classifiers caused signficant differences in both the number of features selected and the accuracy levels of the features. A comparison of results regarding number of classifiers and nature of classifiers revealed that the former has more of an effect on feature selection than the latter. The thesis makes contributions to three communities: data mining, feature selection, and HCI. For the data mining community, this thesis proposes a new method called WDT which integrates the use of multiple classifiers for feature selection and decision trees to effectively select and visualise the most relevant features within a dataset. For the feature selection community, the results of this thesis have showed that the number of classifiers and nature of classifiers can truly affect the feature selection process. The results and suggestions based on the results can provide useful insight about classifiers when performing feature selection. For the HCI community, this thesis has showed the usefulness of feature selection for identifying a small number of highly relevant features for determining the preferences of different users.
Supervisor: Chen, S. Y.; Liu, X. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: data mining ; wrapper ; classification ; decision tree ; bayesian network