Simple stopping criteria for information theoretic feature selection

29 Nov 2018  ·  Shujian Yu, Jose C. Principe ·

Feature selection aims to select the smallest feature subset that yields the minimum generalization error. In the rich literature in feature selection, information theory-based approaches seek a subset of features such that the mutual information between the selected features and the class labels is maximized. Despite the simplicity of this objective, there still remain several open problems in optimization. These include, for example, the automatic determination of the optimal subset size (i.e., the number of features) or a stopping criterion if the greedy searching strategy is adopted. In this paper, we suggest two stopping criteria by just monitoring the conditional mutual information (CMI) among groups of variables. Using the recently developed multivariate matrix-based Renyi's \alpha-entropy functional, which can be directly estimated from data samples, we showed that the CMI among groups of variables can be easily computed without any decomposition or approximation, hence making our criteria easy to implement and seamlessly integrated into any existing information theoretic feature selection methods with a greedy search strategy.

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