An Information Theory-Based Feature Selection Framework for Big Data Under Apache Spark

With the advent of extremely high dimensional datasets, dimensionality reduction techniques are becoming mandatory. Of the many techniques available, feature selection (FS) is of growing interest for its ability to identify both relevant features and frequently repeated instances in huge datasets. We aim to demonstrate that standard FS methods can be parallelized in big data platforms like Apache Spark so as to boost both performance and accuracy. We propose a distributed implementation of a generic FS framework that includes a broad group of well-known information theory-based methods. Experimental results for a broad set of real-world datasets show that our distributed framework is capable of rapidly dealing with ultrahigh-dimensional datasets as well as those with a huge number of samples, outperforming the sequential version in all the cases studied.

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