Benchmarking attribute selection techniques for discrete class data mining

M.A. Hall and G. Holmes


Working Paper No. 02/02


Data engineering is generally considered to be a central issue in the development of data mining applications.  The success of many learning schemes, in their attempts to construct models of data, hinges on the reliable identification of a small set of highly predictive attributes.  The inclusion of irrelevant, redundant and noisy attributes in the model building process phase can result in poor predictive performance and increased computation. Attribute selection generally involves a combination of search and attribute utility estimation plus evaluation with respect to specific learning schemes.  This leads to a large number of possible permutation and has led to a situation where very few benchmark studies have been conducted. This paper presents a benchmark comparison of several attribute selection methods for supervised classification.  All the methods produce an attribute ranking, a useful devise for isolating the individual merit of an attribute. Attribute selection is achieved by cross-validating the attribute rankings with respect to a classification learner to find the best attributes.  Results are reported for a selection of standard data sets and two diverse learning schemes C4.5 and naïve Bayes.

Working Papers Series, ISSN: 1170-487X


Department of Computer Science, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

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