Imbalance Learning for Variable Star Classification

The accurate automated classification of variable stars into their respective sub-types is difficult. Machine learning based solutions often fall foul of the imbalanced learning problem, which causes poor generalisation performance in practice, especially on rare variable star sub-types... In previous work, we attempted to overcome such deficiencies via the development of a hierarchical machine learning classifier. This 'algorithm-level' approach to tackling imbalance, yielded promising results on Catalina Real-Time Survey (CRTS) data, outperforming the binary and multi-class classification schemes previously applied in this area. In this work, we attempt to further improve hierarchical classification performance by applying 'data-level' approaches to directly augment the training data so that they better describe under-represented classes. We apply and report results for three data augmentation methods in particular: $\textit{R}$andomly $\textit{A}$ugmented $\textit{S}$ampled $\textit{L}$ight curves from magnitude $\textit{E}$rror ($\texttt{RASLE}$), augmenting light curves with Gaussian Process modelling ($\texttt{GpFit}$) and the Synthetic Minority Over-sampling Technique ($\texttt{SMOTE}$). When combining the 'algorithm-level' (i.e. the hierarchical scheme) together with the 'data-level' approach, we further improve variable star classification accuracy by 1-4$\%$. We found that a higher classification rate is obtained when using $\texttt{GpFit}$ in the hierarchical model. Further improvement of the metric scores requires a better standard set of correctly identified variable stars and, perhaps enhanced features are needed. read more

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