Top-$k$ Regularization for Supervised Feature Selection

4 Jun 2021  ·  Xinxing Wu, Qiang Cheng ·

Feature selection identifies subsets of informative features and reduces dimensions in the original feature space, helping provide insights into data generation or a variety of domain problems. Existing methods mainly depend on feature scoring functions or sparse regularizations; nonetheless, they have limited ability to reconcile the representativeness and inter-correlations of features. In this paper, we introduce a novel, simple yet effective regularization approach, named top-$k$ regularization, to supervised feature selection in regression and classification tasks. Structurally, the top-$k$ regularization induces a sub-architecture on the architecture of a learning model to boost its ability to select the most informative features and model complex nonlinear relationships simultaneously. Theoretically, we derive and mathematically prove a uniform approximation error bound for using this approach to approximate high-dimensional sparse functions. Extensive experiments on a wide variety of benchmarking datasets show that the top-$k$ regularization is effective and stable for supervised feature selection.

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