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A New Perspective for Information Theoretic Feature Selection

Gavin Brown; JMLR W&CP 5:49-56, 2009.

Abstract

Feature Filters are among the simplest and fastest approaches to feature selection. A "filter" defines a statistical criterion, used to rank features on how useful they are expected to be for classification. The highest ranking features are retained, and the lowest ranking can be discarded. A common approach is to use the Mutual Information between the features and class label. This area has seen a recent flurry of activity, resulting in a confusing variety of heuristic criteria all based on mutual information, and a lack of a principled way to understand or relate them. The contribution of this paper is a unifying theoretical understanding of such filters. In contrast to current methods which manually construct fi lter criteria with particular properties, we show how to naturally derive a space of possible ranking criteria. We will show that several recent contributions in the feature selection literature are points within this space, and that there exist many points that have never been explored.



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