Utility metric for unsupervised feature selection.

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From: PeerJ Computer Science(Vol. 7)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 11,034 words
Lexile Measure: 1410L

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Abstract :

Feature selection techniques are very useful approaches for dimensionality reduction in data analysis. They provide interpretable results by reducing the dimensions of the data to a subset of the original set of features. When the data lack annotations, unsupervised feature selectors are required for their analysis. Several algorithms for this aim exist in the literature, but despite their large applicability, they can be very inaccessible or cumbersome to use, mainly due to the need for tuning non-intuitive parameters and the high computational demands. In this work, a publicly available ready-to-use unsupervised feature selector is proposed, with comparable results to the state-of-the-art at a much lower computational cost. The suggested approach belongs to the methods known as spectral feature selectors. These methods generally consist of two stages: manifold learning and subset selection. In the first stage, the underlying structures in the high-dimensional data are extracted, while in the second stage a subset of the features is selected to replicate these structures. This paper suggests two contributions to this field, related to each of the stages involved. In the manifold learning stage, the effect of non-linearities in the data is explored, making use of a radial basis function (RBF) kernel, for which an alternative solution for the estimation of the kernel parameter is presented for cases with high-dimensional data. Additionally, the use of a backwards greedy approach based on the least-squares utility metric for the subset selection stage is proposed. The combination of these new ingredients results in the utility metric for unsupervised feature selection U2FS algorithm. The proposed U2FS algorithm succeeds in selecting the correct features in a simulation environment. In addition, the performance of the method on benchmark datasets is comparable to the state-of-the-art, while requiring less computational time. Moreover, unlike the state-of-the-art, U2FS does not require any tuning of parameters.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A659165486