APPLIED SOFT COMPUTING, vol.56, pp.94-106, 2017 (SCI-Expanded)
Biological data often consist of redundant and irrelevant features. These features can lead to misleading in modeling the algorithms and overfitting problem. Without a feature selection method, it is difficult for the existing models to accurately capture the patterns on data. The aim of feature selection is to choose a small number of relevant or significant features to enhance the performance of the classification. Existing feature selection methods suffer from the problems such as becoming stuck in local optima and being computationally expensive. To solve these problems, an efficient global search technique is needed. Black Hole Algorithm (BHA) is an efficient and new global search technique, inspired by the behavior of black hole, which is being applied to solve several optimization problems. However, the potential of BHA for feature selection has not been investigated yet. This paper proposes a Binary version of Black Hole Algorithm called BBHA for solving feature selection problem in biological data. The BBHA is an extension of existing BHA through appropriate binarization. Moreover, the performances of six well-known decision tree classifiers (Random Forest (RF), Bagging, C5.0, C4.5, Boosted C5.0, and CART) are compared in this study to employ the best one as an evaluator of proposed algorithm. The performance of the proposed algorithm is tested upon eight publicly available biological datasets and is compared with Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO), Genetic Algorithm (GA), Simulated Annealing (SA), and Correlation based Feature Selection (CFS) in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, Matthews’ Correlation Coefficient (MCC), and Area Under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) Curve (AUC). In order to verify the applicability and generality of the BBHA, it was integrated with Naive Bayes (NB) classifier and applied on further datasets on the text and image domains. The experimental results confirm that the performance of RF is better than the other decision tree algorithms and the proposed BBHA wrapper based feature selection method is superior to BPSO, GA, SA, and CFS in terms of all criteria. BBHA gives significantly better performance than the BPSO and GA in terms of CPU Time, the number of parameters for configuring the model, and the number of chosen optimized features. Also, BBHA has competitive or better performance than the other methods in the literature.