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Feature selection, fundamentals and applications

Feature selection, fundamentals and applications

This video was recorded at NATO Advanced Study Institute on Mining Massive Data Sets for Security. Variable and feature selection have become the focus of much research in areas of application for which datasets with tens or hundreds of thousands of variables are available. These areas include text processing of internet documents, gene expression array analysis, and combinatorial chemistry. The objective of variable selection is three-fold: improving the prediction performance of the predictors, providing faster and more cost-effective predictors, and providing a better understanding of the underlying process that generated the data. This presentation will cover a wide range of aspects of such problems: providing a better definition of the objective function, feature construction, feature ranking, multivariate feature selection, efficient search methods, and feature validity assessment methods. Most feature selection methods do not attempt to uncover causal relationships between feature and target and focus instead on making best predictions.We will examine situations in which the knowledge of causal relationships benefits feature selection. Such benefits may include: explaining relevance in terms of causal mechanisms, distinguishing between actual features and experimental artifacts, predicting the consequences of actions performed by external agents, and making predictions in non-stationary environments.

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