J. Software Engineering & Applications, 2010, 3: 39-49
doi:10.4236/jsea.2010.31005 Published Online January 2010 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/jsea)
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSEA
Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature
Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical
Suzanne LITTLE1, Sara COLANTONIO 2, Ovidio SALVETTI2, Petra PERNER1*
1Institute of Computer Vision and Applied Computer Sciences, Germany; 2ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy.
Email: pperner@ibai-institut.de
Received September 15th, 2009; revised October 9th, 2009; accepted October 21st, 2009.
Many medical diagnosis applications are characterized by datasets that contain under-represented classes due to the
fact that the disease is much rarer than the normal case. In such a situation classifiers such as decision trees and Naïve
Bayesian that generalize over the data are not the proper choice as classification methods. Case-based classifiers that
can work on the samples seen so far are more appropriate for such a task. We propose to calculate the contingency
table and class specific evaluation measures despite the overall accuracy for evaluation purposes of classifiers for these
specific data characteristics. We evaluate the different options of our case-based classifier and compare the perform-
ance to decision trees and Naïve Bayesian. Finally, we give an outlook for further work.
Keywords: Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, Prototype Selection, Evaluation of Methods, Prototype-Based
Classification, Methodology for Prototype-Based Classification, CBR in Health
1. Introduction
Many medical diagnosis applications are characterized
by datasets that contain under-represented classes due to
the fact that the disease is much rarer than the normal
case. In such a situation classifiers such as decision trees
and Naïve Bayesian that generalize over the data are not
the proper choice as classification methods. Decision
trees tend to over-generalize the class with the most ex-
amples while Naïve Bayesian requires enough data for
the estimation of the class-conditional probabilities.
Case-based classifiers that can work on the samples seen
so far are more appropriate for such a task.
A case-based classifier classifies a new sample by
finding similar cases in the case base based on a proper
similarity measure. A good coverage of the casebase, the
right case description and the proper similarity are the
essential functions that enable a case-based classifier to
perform well.
In this work we studied the behavior of a case-based
classifier based on different medical datasets with dif-
ferent characteristics from the UCI repository [1]. We
chose datasets where one or more classes were heavily
under-represented compared to the other classes as well
as datasets having more or less equally distributed sam-
ples for the classes for comparison purposes.
The case-based classifier has several options for im-
proving its performance that can be chosen independ-
ently or in combination. Currently available options in
our case-based classifier are: k-value for the closest
cases; feature subset selection (FS); feature weight
learning (FW); and prototype selection (PS). To con-
clusively determine which combination of options is
best for the current problem is non-obvious and time-
consuming and we hope to develop with our study a
methodology that assists a user in designing and refin-
ing our case-based classifiers. We observe the influ-
ence of the different options of a case-based classifier
and report the results in this paper. Our study is an
on-going study; we also intend to investigate other op-
tions in casebase maintenance.
The aim of this work is to provide the user with a
methodology for best applying our case-based classifier
and for evaluating the classifier particularly in situations
where there is under-representation of specific classes. In
Section 2 we describe our case-based classifier named
ProtoClass while Section 3 describes the evaluation
strategy. The datasets are described in Section 4. Results
are reported in Section 5 and a discussion on the results
is given in Section 6. Finally, we summarize our work
and give an outlook of further work in Section 7.
Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications
2. Case-Based Classifiers
A case-based classifier classifies a sample according to
the cases in a case base and selects the most similar case
as output of the classifier. A proper similarity measure is
necessary to perform this task but in most applications no
a-priori knowledge is available that suggests the right
similarity measure. The method of choice for selecting
the proper similarity measure is therefore to apply a sub-
set of the numerous statistically derived similarity meas-
ures to the problem and to select the one that performs
best according to a quality measure such as the classifi-
cation accuracy. The other choice is to automatically
build the similarity metric by learning the right attributes
and attribute weights. We chose the latter as one option
to improve the performance of our classifier.
When people collect samples to construct a dataset for
a case-based classifier it is useful to select prototypical
examples from the samples. Therefore, a function is
needed to perform prototype selection and to reduce the
number of examples used for classification. This results
in better generalization and a more noise tolerant classi-
fier. An expert is also able to select prototypes manually.
However, this can result in bias and possibly duplicates
of prototypes and may therefore cause inefficiencies.
Therefore, a function to assess a collection of prototypes
and identify redundancy is useful.
Finally, an important variable in a case-based classifier
is the value used to determine the number of closest
cases and the final class label.
Consequently, the design-options available for impro-
ving the performance of the classifier are prototype se-
lection, feature-subset selection, feature weight learning
and the ‘k’ value of the closest cases (see Figure 1).
We choose a decremental redundancy-reduction algo-
rithm proposed by Chang [2] that deletes prototypes as
long as the classification accuracy does not decrease. The
feature-subset selection is based on the wrapper approach
[3] and an empirical feature-weight learning method [4]
is used. Cross validation is used to estimate the classifi-
cation accuracy. A detailed description of our classifier
ProtoClass is given in [6. The prototype selection, the
feature selection, and the feature weighting steps are
performed independently or in combination with each
other in order to assess the influence these functions have
on the performance of the classifier. The steps are per-
formed during each run of the cross-validation process.
The classifier schema shown in Figure 1 is divided into
the design phase (Learning Unit) and the normal classi-
fication phase (Classification Unit). The classification
phase starts after we have evaluated the classifier and
determined the right features, feature weights, the value
for ‘k’ and the cases.
Our classifier has a flat case base instead of a hierar-
chical one; this makes it easier to conduct the evalua-
2.1 Classification Rule
This rule [5] classifies x in the category of its closest case.
More precisely, we call xnx1,x2,…,xi,…xn a closest
case to x if
min ,,
dxxdx x
, where i=1,2,…,n.
The rule classifies x into category Cn, where n
the closest case to x and n
belongs to class Cn.
In the case of the k-closest cases we require k-samples
of the same class to fulfill the decision rule. As a distance
measure we use the Euclidean distance.
dataset form at
feature subset
feature weight
generalised CaseBase
feature weights
similiarity measures
Learning Unit
similarity-based classification
cross validation
Classification Unit
dataset form at
contingency table
Figure 1. Case-based classifier
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSEA
Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications41
2.2 Prototype Selection by Chang’s Algorithm
For the selection of the right number of prototypes we
used Chang’s algorithm [2] The outline of the algorithm
can be described as follows: Suppose the set T is given as
T={t1,…,ti,…,tm} with ti as the i-th initial prototype. The
principle of the algorithm is as follows: We start with
every point in T as a prototype. We then successively
merge any two closest prototypes t1 and t2 of the same
class to a new prototype t, if merging will not downgrade
the classification of the patterns in T. The new prototype
t may simply be the average vector of t1 and t2. We con-
tinue the merging process until the number of incorrect
classifications of the pattern in T starts to increase.
Roughly, the algorithm can be stated as follows: Given
a training set T, the initial prototypes are just the points
of T. At any stage the prototypes belong to one of two
sets-set A or set B. Initially, A is empty and B is equal to
T. We start with an arbitrary point in B and initially as-
sign it to A. Find a point p in A and a point q in B, such
that the distance between p and q is the shortest among
all distances between points of A and B. Try to merge p
and q. That is, if p and q are of the same class, compute a
vector p* in terms of p and q. If replacing p and q by p*
does not decrease the recognition rate for T, merging is
successful. In this case, delete p and q from A and B, re-
spectively, and put p* into A, and repeat the procedure
once again. In case that p and q cannot be merged, i.e. if
either p or q are not of the same class or merging is un-
successful, move q from B to A, and repeat the procedure.
When B empty, repeat the whole procedure by letting B
be the final A obtained from the previous cycle, and by
resetting A to be the empty set. This process stops when
no new merged prototypes are obtained. The final proto-
types in A are then used in the classifier.
2.3 Feature-Subset Selection and Feature
The wrapper approach [3] is used for selecting a feature
subset from the whole set of features and for feature
weighting. This approach conducts a search for a good
feature subset by using the k-NN classifier itself as an
evaluation function. By doing so the specific behavior of
the classification methods is taken into account. The
leave-one-out cross-validation method is used for esti-
mating the classification accuracy. Cross-validation is
especially suitable for small data set. The best-first
search strategy is used for the search over the state space
of possible feature combination. The algorithm termi-
nates if no improved accuracy over the last k search
states is found.
The feature combination that gave the best classifica-
tion accuracy is the remaining feature subset. We then try
to further improve our classifier by applying a feature-
weighting tuning-technique in order to get real weights
for the binary weights.
The weights of each feature wi are changed by a con-
stant value, : wi:=wi±. If the new weight causes an
improvement of the classification accuracy, then the
weight will be updated accordingly; otherwise, the
weight will remain as is. After the last weight has been
tested, the constant will be divided into half and the
procedure repeated. The process terminates if the differ-
ence between the classification accuracy of two interac-
tions is less than a predefined threshold.
3. Classifier Construction and Evaluation
Since we are dealing with small sample sets that may
sometimes only have two samples in a class we choose
leave one-out to estimate the error rate. We calculate the
average accuracy and the contingency table (see Table 1)
showing the distribution of the class-correct classified
samples as well as the distribution of the samples classi-
fied in one of the other classes. From this table we can
derive a set of more specific performance measures that
had already demonstrated their advantages in the com-
parison of neural nets and decision trees [3] such as the
classification quality (also called the sensitivity and
specificity in the two-class problem).
The true class distribution within the data set and the
class distribution after the samples have been classified as
well as the marginal distribution cij are recorded in the
fields of the table. The main diagonal is the number of cor-
rectly classified samples. From this table, we can calculate
parameters that describe the quality of the classifier.
The correctness or accuracy p (Equation 1) is the
number of correctly classified samples relative to the
number of samples. This measure is the opposite to the
error rate.
1 (1)
The class specific quality pki (Equation 2) is the num-
ber of correctly classified samples for one class i relative
to all samples of class i and the classification quality pti
(Equation 3) is the number of correctly classified sam-
ples of class i relative to the number of correctly and
falsely classified samples into class i:
Table 1. Contingency table
True Class Label (assigned by expert)
1 i … m pki
1 c11 ... ... c1m
i ... cii ... ...
... ... ... ...
m cm1 ... ... cmm
Class Label
(by Classifier)
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Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications
ki c
These measures allow us to study the behavior of a
classifier according to a particular class. The overall error
rate of a classifier may look good but we may find it un-
acceptable when examining the classification quality pti
for a particular class.
We also calculate the reduction rate, that is, the num-
ber of samples removed from the dataset versus the
number of samples in the case base.
The classifier provides several options, prototype- se-
lection, feature subset selection, and feature weighting,
which can be chosen combinatorially. We therefore per-
formed the tests on each of these combinations in order
to understand which function must be used for which
data characteristics. Table 2 lists the various combina-
4. Datasets and Methods for Comparison
A variety of datasets were chosen from the UCI reposi-
tory [1]. The IRIS and E.coli datasets are presented here
as representative of the different characteristics of the
datasets. Space constraints prevent the presentation of
other evaluations in this paper.
The well-known, standard IRIS Plant dataset consists
of sepal and petal measurements from specimens of IRIS
plants and aims to classify them into one of three species.
The dataset consists of 3 equally distributed classes of 50
samples each with 4 numerical features. One species
(setosa) is linearly separable from the other two, which
are not linearly separable from each other. This is a sim-
ple and frequently applied dataset within the field of pat-
tern recognition.
The E. coli dataset aims to predict the cellular local-
ization sites of proteins from a number of signal and
laboratory measurements. The dataset consists of 336
instances with 7 numerical features and belonging to 8
classes. The distribution of the samples per class is
Table 2. Combinations of classifier options for testing
Test Feature Subset
1 1
2 1
3 1
4 1 2 3
5 2 3 1
highly disparate (143/77/2/2/35/20/5/52).
The Wisconsin Breast Cancer dataset consists of visual
information from scans and provides a classification
problem of predicting the class of the cancer as either
benign or malignant. There are 699 instances in the data-
set with a distribution of 458/241 and 9 numerical fea-
For each dataset we compare the overall accuracy
generated from:
1) Naïve Bayesian, implemented in Matlab;
2) C4.5 decision tree induction, implemented in DE-
3) k-Nearest Neighbor (k-NN) classifier, implemented
in Weka [11] with the settings “weka.classifiers.lazy.IBk
-K k-W 0-A” weka.core.neighboursearch. LinearNN-
Search-A weka.core.EuclideanDistance” and the k-
Nearest Neighbor (k-NN) classifier implemented in Mat-
lab (Euclidean distance, vote by majority rule).
4) case-based classifier, implemented in ProtoClass
(described in Section 2) without normalization of features.
Where appropriate, the k values were set as 1, 3 and 7
and leave-one-out cross-validation was used as the eva-
luation method. We refer to the different “implementa-
tions” of each of these approaches since the decisions
made during implementation can cause slightly different
results even with equivalent algorithms.
5. Results
The results for the IRIS dataset are reported in Tables 4-6.
Table 4 shows the results for Naïve Bayes, decision tree
induction, k-NN classifier done with Weka implementa-
tion and the result for the combinatorial tests described in
Table 2 with ProtoClass. As expected, decision tree in-
duction performs well since the data set has an equal data
distribution but not as well as Naïve Bayes.
Table 3. Dataset characteristics and class distribution
Classes Class Distribution
setosa versicolor virginica
IRIS 150 4 3 50 50 50
cp imimLimSimUom omL pp
E.Coli 336 7 8
143772 2 35 20 5 52
benign malignant
Wisconsin 699 9 2 458 241
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSEA
Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications43
Table 4. Overall accuracy for IRIS dataset using leave-one-out
k Naïve
kNN Proto-
1 95.33 96.33 95.33 96.00 X X 96.00 96.00 96.33
3 na na 95.33 96.00 96.33 96.33 96.00 96.33 96.00
7 na na 96.33 96.67 X 96.00 96.00 96.33 96.00
Table 5. Contingency table for k=1,3,7 for the IRIS dataset and protoclass
IRIS setosa versicolor Virginica
k 1 3 7 1 3 7 1 3 7
setosa 50 50 50 0 0 0 0 0 0
versicolor 0 0 0 47 47 46 3 3 4
virginica 0 0 0 3 3 1 47 47 49
Classification quality 100 100 100 94 94 97.87 94 94 92.45
Class specific quality 100 100 100 94 94 92 94 94 98
Table 6. Class distribution and percentage reduction rate of
IRIS dataset after prototype selection
Rate in %
orig 50 50 50 0.00
k=1 50 49 50 0.67
k=3 50 49 50 0.67
k=7 50 48 50 1.33
In general we can say that the accuracy does not sig-
nificantly improve when using feature subset selection,
feature weighting and prototype selection with Proto-
Class. In case of k=1 and k=7 the feature subset remains
the initial feature set. This is marked in Table 4 by an
“X” indicating that no changes were made in the design
phase and the accuracy is the same as for the initial clas-
sifier. This is not surprising since the data base contains
Table 7. Overall accuracy for E. coli dataset using leave-one-out
k Naïve
Weka Near-
knn ProtoClass
1 86.01 66.37 80.95 80.06 81.25 80.95 83.04 80.65 82.44 80.95
3 na na 83.93 84.26 84.23 85.12 84.23 82.74 83.93 82.74
7 na na 86.40 86.31 87.20 87.20 86.31 86.61 85.42 86.61
Table 8. Combined contingency table for k=1,3,7 for the E. coli dataset and protoClass
cp im imL imS imU Om omL pp
k 1 3 7 1 3 7 1 3 7 1 3 71 3 7 1 3 7 1 3 7 1 3 7
cp 133 139 140 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 4 3
im 3 4 3 56 60 60 1 0 0 1001512110 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3
imL 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0000 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0
imS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0001 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
imU 1 1 1 15 16 12 0 0 0 0001917220 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
om 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0001 0 0 161717 0 1 1 3 2 2
omL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0000 0 0 0 0 0 5 5 5 0 0 0
pp 5 4 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0000 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 4445 47
pki 93.66 93.92 94.59 72.73 76.92 81.08 0.00 0 0 0.000052.7856.6764.7188.8985.00100.0083.33 71.43 71.43 80.0086.54 83.93
pti 93.01 97.20 97.90 72.73 78.95 77.92 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.000.0054.2948.5762.8680.0085.0085.00100.00 100.00 100.00 84.6286.54 90.38
only 4 features which are more or less well-distinguished.
In case of k=3 a decrease in accuracy is observed al-
though the stopping criteria for the methods for feature
subset selection and feature weighting require the overall
accuracy not to decrease. This accuracy is calculated
within the loop of the cross validation cycle on the de-
sign data set and afterwards the single left out sample is
classified against the new learnt classifier to calculate the
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Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications
Table 9. Learnt weights for E. coli dataset
k f1 f2 f3 f4 f5 f6 f7
1 0.5 1 1 1 0.75 1.5 1
3 1.5 0 1 1 1 1 1
7 0.75 0.5 1 1 1 1 1
final overall accuracy. Prototype selection where k=7
demonstrates the same behavior. This shows that the true
accuracy must be calculated based on cross validation
and not simply based on the design data set.
We expected that feature subset selection and feature
Table 10. Class distribution and percentage reduction rate of E. coli dataset after prototype selection
cp im imL imS imU om omL pp Reduction
rate in %
orig 143 77 2 2 35 20 5 52 0.00
k=1 140 73 2 2 34 20 5 49 3.27
k=3 142 72 2 2 31 20 5 52 2.97
k=7 142 76 2 2 32 20 5 50 2.08
weighting would change the similarity matrix and there-
fore we believed that prototype selection should be done
afterwards. As shown in the Table 4 in case of k=3 we do
not achieve any improvement in accuracy when running
PS after the feature options. However, when conducting
PS before FS and FW, we see that FS and FW do not
have any further influence on the accuracy. When com-
bining FS/FW/PS, the final accuracy was often the same
as the accuracy of the first function applied. Therefore,
prototype selection prior to feature subset selection or
feature weighting seems to provide a better result.
The contingency table in Table 5 provides a better un-
derstanding in respect to what is happening during clas-
sification. The table shows which samples are misclassi-
fied according to what class. In case of k=1 and k=3 the
misclassification is more equitably distributed over the
classes. If we prefer to accurately classify one class we
might prefer k=7 since it can better classify class “vir-
ginica”. The domain determines what requirements are
expected from the system.
Table 6 shows the remaining sample distribution ac-
cording to the class after prototype selection. We can see
that there are two or three samples merged for class “ver-
sicolor”. The reduction of the number of samples is small
(less than 1.4% reduction rate) but this behavior fits our
expectations when considering the original data set. It is
well known that the IRIS dataset is a pre-cleaned dataset.
Table 7 lists the overall accuracies for the different
approaches using the E. coli dataset. Naïve Bayesian
shows the best overall accuracy while decision tree in-
duction exhibits the worst one. The result for Naïve
Bayesian is somewhat curious since we have found that
the Bayesian scenario is not suitable for this data set. The
true class conditional distribution cannot be estimated for
the classes with small sample number. Therefore, we
consider this classifier not to be applicable to such a data
set. That it shows such a good accuracy might be due to
the fact that the classifier can classify excellently the
classes with large sample number (e.g., cp, im, pp) and
the misclassification of samples from classes with a
small number do not have a big impact on the overall
accuracy. Although previous evaluations have used this
data to demonstrate the performance of their classifier on
the overall accuracy (for example in [11,12]) we suggest
that this number does not necessarily reflect the true per-
formance of the classifier. It is essential to examine the
data characteristics and the class-specific classification
quality when judging the performance of the classifier.
As in the former test, the k-NN classifier of Weka does
not perform as well as the ProtoClass classifier. The
same is true for the knn-classifier implemented in Matlab.
The best accuracy is found surprisingly for k=7 but the
contingency table (Table 8) confirms again that the
classes with small sample number seem to have low im-
pact on overall accuracy.
Feature subset selection works on the E. coli dataset.
One or two features drop out but the same observations
as of the IRIS data set are also true here. We can see an
Table 11. Contigency table for E. coli dataset and Naïve Bayes Classifier
cp im imL imS imU om omL pp
cp 138 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
im 3 58 0 0 14 0 0 2
imL 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
imS 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
imU 1 12 0 0 22 0 0 0
om 0 0 0 0 0 19 0 1
omL 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
pp 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 48
pti*100 95,38 78,38 0 0 59,46 95 80 85,71
pki*100 96,5 75,32 0 0 62,86 95 80 92,31
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Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications45
Table 12. Contigency table for E. coli dataset and Matlab knn Classifier
k13713713713713713 7 1 3 7137
cp 13313914040000000000000 0 0 0 064314
im3 4 3566060100100151211 0 00000 1 0 37
imL00011100000000000 0 1 1 1000
imS00000000000011100 0 0 0 0111
imU111151612000000191722 0 10000 0 0 03
omL00000000000000000 0 5 5 5000
pp54411100000000022 0 0 0 04445475
0,94 0,94 0,95 0,73 0,77 0,810,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,53 0,57 0,65 0,89 0,851,000,830,710,710,80 0,87 0,84
0,93 0,97 0,98 0,73 0,78 0,780,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,54 0,49 0,63 0,80 0,850,851,001,001,000,85 0,87 0,90
omL ppcpimimL imSimUom
143 77223520552
cpimimL imS imUomomLpp
Classes and Number of Samples
Classification Quality
Naive Bayes
Math knn 1
Math knn 3
Math knn 7
Proto k 1
Proto k 3
Proto k 7
Figure 2. Classification quality for the best results for Naïve Bayes, Math knn, and Protoclass
143 77223520552
cpimimLimS imUomomLpp
Classes and Number of Samples
Class Specific Quality
Naive Bayes
Math knn 1
Math knn 3
Math knn 7
Proto k 1
Proto k 3
Proto k 7
Figure 3. Class specific quality for the best results for Naïve Bayes, Math knn, and Protoclass
increase as well as a decrease of the accuracy. This
means that only the accuracy estimated with cross-valid-
ation provides the best indication of the performance of
feature subset selection. Feature weighting works only in
case of k=1 (see Table 9) where an improvement of
1.79% in accuracy is observed.
The contingency Table (Table 8) confirms our hy-
pothesis that only the classes with many samples are well
classified. In the case of classes with a very low number
of samples (e.g., imL and imS) the error rate is 100% for
the class. For these classes we have no coverage [8] of
the class solutions space. The reduction rate on the sam-
ples after PS (Table 10) confirms again this observation.
Some samples of the classes with high number of sam-
ples are merged but the classes with low sample numbers
remain constant.
Table 11 and Table 12 show the contigency table for
the Naïve Bayes Classifier and the Matlab knn. Based on
this results we calculated the class specific quality and
the classification quality summarized for all classifiers in
Table 13 and Table 14. We can see that each class is han-
dle very differently by each classifier. Without any
a-priori knowledge about the importance of a class it is
hard to decide which classifier to prefer. Not surprising
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Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications
Table 13. Classification quality for the best results for Naïve Bayes, Matlab knn, and Protoclass
Table 14. Class specific quality for the best results for Naïve Bayes, Matlab knn, and Protoclass
cp im imLimSimU om omL pp
143 77 2 2 35 20 5 52
of Outperform
Naive Bayes 96,50 75,32 0,000,0062,8695,00 80,00 92,312
Math knn 1 93,01 72,73 0,000,0054,2980,00 100,0084,621
Math knn 3 97,20 77,92 0,000,0048,5785,00 100,0086,541
Math knn 7 97,90 77,92 0,000,0062,8685,00 100,0090,382
Proto k 1 94,41 80,52 0,000,0054,2975,00 100,0084,622
Proto k 3 95,10 77,92 0,000,0065,7180,00 100,0088,461
Proto k 7 97,90 79,22 0,000,0068,5780,00 100,0090,383
Table 15. Overall accuracy for wisconsin dataset using leave-one-out
k Naïve
Feature Subset&
1 96.14 95.28 95.56 95.71 94.42 95.14 94.71 95,75 96.48
3 na na 96.42 96.57 95.99 96.42 95.99 na
7 na na 96.85 97.00 96.85 96.85 97.14 na
none of the classifier reach any sample for the low rep-
resented classes imL and imS in the cross validation
mode. The Naïve Bayes classifier can handle in some
cases low represented classes (om) very good while more
havely represented classes (e.g. cp) are not classified
well. But the same is trying for the Nearest Neighbor
classifier and ProtoClass. The result seems to depend on
the class distribution. If we judge the performance of the
classifier on the basis, how often a classifier is outper-
forming the other classifiers, we can summarize that
ProtoClass k=7 performs very well on both measures,
classification quality (see Figure 2) and class specific
quality (see Figure 3). If we chose a value for k greater
than 7 the performance of the nearest neighbor classifiers
and ProtoClass drop significantly down (k=20 and over-
all accuracy is 84,6%). That confirms that the value of k
has to be in accordance with the sample number of the
It is interesting to note that prototype selection does
not have so much impact on the result in case of the
E.coli data base (see Table 7). Rather than this feature
subset selection and feature weighting are important.
Results for the Wisconsin Breast Cancer dataset are
summarized in Tables 15 and 16. The sample distribution
is 448 for beningn data and 241 for malignant data. Due
to the expensive computational complexity of the proto-
type implementation and the size of the dataset it was not
possible to generate results for all prototype selections.
Therefore: only results for feature subset selection and
feature weighting have been completed. While the Wis-
consin dataset is a two class problem, it still has the same
disparity between the number of samples in each case.
As expected in a reasonably well delineated two-class
problem: Naïve Bayes and Decision Trees both perform
Quality cp im imL imSimU om omL pp
143 77 2 2 35 20 5 52
Number of
Naive Bayes 95,83 78,38 0,00 0,0059,4695,00 80,00 85,71 1
Math knn 1 93,66 72,73 0,00 0,0052,7888,89 83,33 80,00 1
Math knn 3 93,92 76,92 0,00 0,0056,6785,00 71,43 86,54 1
Math knn 7 94,59 81,08 0,00 0,0064,71100,00 71,43 83,93 1
Proto k 1 94,43 74,70 0,00 0,0061,3088,23 83,33 80,00 1
Proto k 3 93,30 78,00 0,00 0,0062,0689,97 71,42 86,27 0
Proto k 7 94,60 83,56 0,00 0,0068,57 100,00 71,42 82,45 3
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSEA
Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications47
Table 16. Combined contingency table for k=1,3,7 for the Wisconsin dataset using ProtoClass
benign malignant
k 1 3 7 1 3 7
benign 444 445 447 14 13 11
malignant 25 15 11 216 226 230
class specific qual-
ity 94.67 96.74 97.6 93.91 94.56 95.44
classification qual-
ity 96.94 97.16 97.6 89.63 93.78 95.44
Table 17. Combined contingency table for k=1,3,7 for the Wisconsin dataset using Matlab knn Classifier
benign malignant
k 1 3 7 1 3 7
Malignant 19 229 230 231 18 17
Benign 440 18 13 11 445 447
pti*100 95,86% 92,71% 94,65% 95,45% 96,11% 96,34%
pki*100 96,07% 92,34% 92,74% 93,15% 97,16% 97,60%
Table 18. Contingency table for the Wisconsin dataset using
Bayes Classifier
benign malignant
Malignant 9 230
Benign 442 16
pti *100 98,00% 93,50%
pki *100 96,51% 96,23%
The k-value of 7 produces the best overall accuracy.
The feature subset and feature weighting tasks both dis-
play slight improvements or retention of the performance
for all values of k. The Wisconsin dataset has the largest
number of features (9) of the datasets discussed here and
it is to be expected that datasets with larger numbers of
features will have improved performance when applying
techniques to adjust the importance and impact of the
features. However, it is worth noting that the feature
subset selection and feature weighting techniques used in
this prototype assume that the features operate inde-
pendently from each other. This may not be the case,
especially when applying these techniques to classifica-
tion using low-level analysis of media objects.
The contingency tables shown in Table 16 provide a
more in-depth assessment of the performance of the Pro-
toClass classifier than is possible by using the overall
accuracy value. In this instance the performance differ-
ence between classes is relatively stable and the k-value
of 7 still appears to offer the best performance. Prototpye
selection can significantly improve the performance of
the classifier in case of k equal 1.
Table 17 shows the performance of the Matlab knn.
ProtoClass does not clearly outperform Matlab knn on
this dataset. Table 18 shows the performance of Naïve
Bayes Classifier. The performance is only for the class
“benign” with the high number of samples better than the
one of ProtoClass.
Overall the results from the three datasets summarised
in this section demonstrate that measuring performance
by using the overall accuracy of a classifier is inaccurate
and insufficient when there is an unequal distribution of
samples over classes, especially when one or more clas-
ses are significantly under-represented. In addition, when
the classifier uses the overall accuracy as feedback for
feature subset selection, feature weighting and prototype
selection are flawed as this approach encourages the
classifier to ignore classes with a small number of mem-
bers. Examining the contingency table and calculating
the class specific quality measurements provides a more
complete picture of classifier performance .
6. Discussion
We have studied the performance of some well-known
classifiers such as Naïve Bayesian, decision tree induc-
tion and k-NN classifiers with respect to our case-based
classifier ProtoClass. This study was done on datasets
where some classes are heavily under-represented. This
is a characteristic of many medical applications.
The choice of the value of k has a significant impact
upon the classifier. If a k-value is selected that is larger
than the number of cases in some classes in the data set
then samples from those classes will not be correctly
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JSEA
Evaluation of Feature Subset Selection, Feature Weighting, and Prototype Selection for Biomedical Applications
classified. This results in a classifier that is heavily gen-
eralized to over-represented classes and does not recog-
nize the under-represented classes. For example, in the E.
coli dataset (described in Section 4) there are two classes
with only two cases. When the k-value is greater than 3,
these cases will never be correctly classified since the
over-represented classes will occupy the greater number
of nearest cases. This observation is also true for Deci-
sion Trees and Naïve Bayesian classifiers. To judge the
true performance of a classifier we need to have more
detailed observations about the output of the classifier.
Such detailed observations are provided by the contin-
gency table in Section 3 that allow us to derive more
specific accuracy measures. We choose the class-specific
classification quality described in Section 3.
The prototype selection algorithm used here is prob-
lematic with respect to the evaluation approach. Relying
on the overall accuracy of the design dataset to assess
whether two cases should be merged to form a new pro-
totype tends to encourage over-generalization where un-
der-represented classes are neglected in favor of changes
to well-populated classes that have a greater impact on
the accuracy of the classifier. Generalization based on the
accuracy seems to be flawed and reduces the effective-
ness of case-based classifiers in handling datasets with
under-represented classes. We are currently investigating
alternative methods to improve generalization in case-ba-
sed classifiers that would also take into account under-
represented classes in spite of the well-represented
The question is what is important from the point of
view of methodology? FS is the least computationally
expensive method because it is implemented using the
best first search strategy. FW is more expensive then FS
but less expensive than PS. FS and FW fall into the same
group of methods. That means FS changes the weights of
a feature from “1” (feature present) to “0” (feature turned
off). It can be seen as a feature weighting approach.
When FS does not bring about any improvement, FW is
less likely to provide worthwhile benefits. With respect
to methodology, this observation indicates that it might
be beneficial to not conduct feature weighting if feature
subset selection shows no improvement. This rule-of-
thumb would greatly reduce the required computational
PS is the most computationally expensive method. In
case of the data sets from the machine learning repository
this method did not have much impact since the data sets
have been heavily pre-cleaned over the years. For a real
world data set, where redundant samples, duplicates and
variations among the samples are common, this method
has a more significant impact [6].
7. Future Work and Conclusions
The work described in this paper is a further develop-
ment of our case-based classification work [6]. We have
introduced new evaluation measures into the design of
such a classifier and have more deeply studied the be-
havior of the options of the classifier according to the
different accuracy measures.
The study in [6] relied on an expert-selected real-wor-
ld image dataset that was considered by the expert as
providing prototypical images for this application. The
central focus of this study was the conceptual proof of
such an approach for image classification as well as the
evaluation of the usefulness of the expert-selected proto-
types. The study was based on more specific evalu-
ation measures for such a classifier and focused on a
methodology for handling the different options of such a
Rather than relying on the overall accuracy to properly
assess the performance of the classifier, we create the
contingency table and calculate more specific accuracy
measures from it. Even for datasets with a small number
of samples in a class, the k-NN classifier is not the best
choice since this classifier also tends to prefer well-repre-
sented classes. Further work will evaluate the impact of
feature weighting and changing the similarity measure.
Generalization methods for datasets with well-represent-
ed classes despite the presence of under-represented clas-
ses will be further studied. This will result in a more det-
ailed methodology for applying our case-based classifier.
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