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A Probabilistic Approach to Feature Selection  A Filter Solution
"... Feature selection can be defined as a problem of finding a minimum set of M relevant attributes that describes the dataset as well as the original N attributes do, where M N . After examining the problems with both the exhaustive and the heuristic approach to feature selection, this paper pro ..."
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Cited by 154 (13 self)
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Feature selection can be defined as a problem of finding a minimum set of M relevant attributes that describes the dataset as well as the original N attributes do, where M N . After examining the problems with both the exhaustive and the heuristic approach to feature selection, this paper proposes a probabilistic approach. The theoretic analysis and the experimental study show that the proposed approach is simple to implement and guaranteed to find the optimal if resources permit. It is also fast in obtaining results and effective in selecting features that improve the performance of a learning algorithm. An onsite application involving huge datasets has been conducted independently. It proves the effectiveness and scalability of the proposed algorithm. Discussed also are various aspects and applications of this feature selection algorithm. 1 Introduction The problem of feature selection can be defined as finding M relevant attributes among the N original attrib...
Testing Heuristics: We Have It All Wrong
 Journal of Heuristics
, 1995
"... The competitive nature of most algorithmic experimentation is a source of problems that are all too familiar to the research community. It is hard to make fair comparisons between algorithms and to assemble realistic test problems. Competitive testing tells us which algorithm is faster but not w ..."
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Cited by 144 (2 self)
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The competitive nature of most algorithmic experimentation is a source of problems that are all too familiar to the research community. It is hard to make fair comparisons between algorithms and to assemble realistic test problems. Competitive testing tells us which algorithm is faster but not why. Because it requires polished code, it consumes time and energy that could be spent doing more experiments. This paper argues that a more scientific approach of controlled experimentation, similar to that used in other empirical sciences, avoids or alleviates these problems. We have confused research and development; competitive testing is suited only for the latter. Most experimental studies of heuristic algorithms resemble track meets more than scientific endeavors. Typically an investigator has a bright idea for a new algorithm and wants to show that it works better, in some sense, than known algorithms. This requires computational tests, perhaps on a standard set of benchmark p...
Locating the Phase Transition in Binary Constraint Satisfaction Problems
 Artificial Intelligence
, 1994
"... The phase transition in binary constraint satisfaction problems, i.e. the transition from a region in which almost all problems have many solutions to a region in which almost all problems have no solutions, as the constraints become tighter, is investigated by examining the behaviour of samples of ..."
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Cited by 134 (4 self)
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The phase transition in binary constraint satisfaction problems, i.e. the transition from a region in which almost all problems have many solutions to a region in which almost all problems have no solutions, as the constraints become tighter, is investigated by examining the behaviour of samples of randomlygenerated problems. In contrast to theoretical work, which is concerned with the asymptotic behaviour of problems as the number of variables becomes larger, this paper is concerned with the location of the phase transition in finite problems. The accuracy of a prediction based on the expected number of solutions is discussed; it is shown that the variance of the number of solutions can be used to set bounds on the phase transition and to indicate the accuracy of the prediction. A class of sparse problems, for which the prediction is known to be inaccurate, is considered in detail; it is shown that, for these problems, the phase transition depends on the topology of the constraint gr...
The Constrainedness of Search
 In Proceedings of AAAI96
, 1999
"... We propose a definition of `constrainedness' that unifies two of the most common but informal uses of the term. These are that branching heuristics in search algorithms often try to make the most "constrained" choice, and that hard search problems tend to be "critically constrain ..."
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Cited by 126 (29 self)
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We propose a definition of `constrainedness' that unifies two of the most common but informal uses of the term. These are that branching heuristics in search algorithms often try to make the most "constrained" choice, and that hard search problems tend to be "critically constrained". Our definition of constrainedness generalizes a number of parameters used to study phase transition behaviour in a wide variety of problem domains. As well as predicting the location of phase transitions in solubility, constrainedness provides insight into why problems at phase transitions tend to be hard to solve. Such problems are on a constrainedness "knifeedge", and we must search deep into the problem before they look more or less soluble. Heuristics that try to get off this knifeedge as quickly as possible by, for example, minimizing the constrainedness are often very effective. We show that heuristics from a wide variety of problem domains can be seen as minimizing the constrainedness (or proxies ...
A Theoretical Evaluation of Selected Backtracking Algorithms
 Artificial Intelligence
, 1997
"... In recent years, many new backtracking algorithms for solving constraint satisfaction problems have been proposed. The algorithms are usually evaluated by empirical testing. This method, however, has its limitations. Our paper adopts a di erent, purely theoretical approach, which is based on charact ..."
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Cited by 125 (3 self)
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In recent years, many new backtracking algorithms for solving constraint satisfaction problems have been proposed. The algorithms are usually evaluated by empirical testing. This method, however, has its limitations. Our paper adopts a di erent, purely theoretical approach, which is based on characterizations of the sets of search treenodes visited by the backtracking algorithms. A notion of inconsistency between instantiations and variables is introduced, and is shown to be a useful tool for characterizing such wellknown concepts as backtrack, backjump, and domain annihilation. The characterizations enable us to: (a) prove the correctness of the algorithms, and (b) partially order the algorithms according to two standard performance measures: the number of nodes visited, and the number of consistency checks performed. Among other results, we prove the correctness of Backjumping and Con ictDirected Backjumping, and show that Forward Checking never visits more nodes than Backjumping. Our approach leads us also to propose a modi cation to two hybrid backtracking algorithms, Backmarking with Backjumping (BMJ) and Backmarking with Con ictDirected Backjumping (BMCBJ), so that they always perform fewer consistency checks than the original algorithms. 1
Nogood Recording for Static and Dynamic Constraint Satisfaction Problems
 International Journal of Artificial Intelligence Tools
, 1993
"... Many AI synthesis problems such as planning, scheduling or design may be encoded in a constraint satisfaction problem (CSP). A CSP is typically defined as the problem of finding any consistent labeling for a fixed set of variables satisfying all given constraints between these variables. However, fo ..."
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Cited by 123 (5 self)
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Many AI synthesis problems such as planning, scheduling or design may be encoded in a constraint satisfaction problem (CSP). A CSP is typically defined as the problem of finding any consistent labeling for a fixed set of variables satisfying all given constraints between these variables. However, for many real tasks, the set of constraints to consider may evolve because of the environment or because of user interactions. The problem we consider here is the solution maintenance problem in such a dynamic CSP (DCSP). We propose a new class of constraint recording algorithms called Nogood Recording that may be used for solving both static and dynamic CSPs. It offers an interesting compromise, polynomially bounded in space, between an ATMSlike approach and the usual static constraint satisfaction algorithms. 1 Introduction The constraint satisfaction problem (CSP) model is widely used to represent and solve various AI related problems and provides fundamental tools in areas such as truth...
Backtracking Algorithms for Disjunctions of Temporal Constraints
 Artificial Intelligence
, 1998
"... We extend the framework of simple temporal problems studied originally by Dechter, Meiri and Pearl to consider constraints of the form x1 \Gamma y1 r1 : : : xn \Gamma yn rn , where x1 : : : xn ; y1 : : : yn are variables ranging over the real numbers, r1 : : : rn are real constants, and n 1. W ..."
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Cited by 117 (2 self)
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We extend the framework of simple temporal problems studied originally by Dechter, Meiri and Pearl to consider constraints of the form x1 \Gamma y1 r1 : : : xn \Gamma yn rn , where x1 : : : xn ; y1 : : : yn are variables ranging over the real numbers, r1 : : : rn are real constants, and n 1. We have implemented four progressively more efficient algorithms for the consistency checking problem for this class of temporal constraints. We have partially ordered those algorithms according to the number of visited search nodes and the number of performed consistency checks. Finally, we have carried out a series of experimental results on the location of the hard region. The results show that hard problems occur at a critical value of the ratio of disjunctions to variables. This value is between 6 and 7. Introduction Reasoning with temporal constraints has been a hot research topic for the last fifteen years. The importance of this problem has been demonstrated in many areas of artifici...
Practical Applications of Constraint Programming
 CONSTRAINTS
, 1996
"... Constraint programming is newly flowering in industry. Several companies have recently started up to exploit the technology, and the number of industrial applications is now growing very quickly. This survey will seek, by examples, ..."
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Cited by 111 (1 self)
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Constraint programming is newly flowering in industry. Several companies have recently started up to exploit the technology, and the number of industrial applications is now growing very quickly. This survey will seek, by examples,
Distributed Breakout Algorithm for Solving Distributed Constraint Satisfaction Problems
, 1996
"... This paper presents a new algorithm for solving distributed constraint satisfaction problems (distributed CSPs) called the distributedbreakout algorithm, which is inspired by the breakout algorithm for solving centralized CSPs. In this algorithm, each agent tries to optimize its evaluation valu ..."
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Cited by 103 (16 self)
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This paper presents a new algorithm for solving distributed constraint satisfaction problems (distributed CSPs) called the distributedbreakout algorithm, which is inspired by the breakout algorithm for solving centralized CSPs. In this algorithm, each agent tries to optimize its evaluation value (the number of constraint violations) by exchanging its current value and the possible amount of its improvement among neighboring agents. Instead of detecting the fact that agents as a whole are trapped in a localminimum, each agent detects whether it is in a quasilocalminimum, which is a weaker condition than a localminimum, and changes the weights of constraint violations to escape from the quasilocalminimum. Experimental evaluations show this algorithm to be much more efficient than existing algorithms for critically difficult problem instances of distributed graphcoloring problems.
Bayesian Optimization Algorithm: From Single Level to Hierarchy
, 2002
"... There are four primary goals of this dissertation. First, design a competent optimization algorithm capable of learning and exploiting appropriate problem decomposition by sampling and evaluating candidate solutions. Second, extend the proposed algorithm to enable the use of hierarchical decompositi ..."
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Cited by 101 (19 self)
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There are four primary goals of this dissertation. First, design a competent optimization algorithm capable of learning and exploiting appropriate problem decomposition by sampling and evaluating candidate solutions. Second, extend the proposed algorithm to enable the use of hierarchical decomposition as opposed to decomposition on only a single level. Third, design a class of difficult hierarchical problems that can be used to test the algorithms that attempt to exploit hierarchical decomposition. Fourth, test the developed algorithms on the designed class of problems and several realworld applications. The dissertation proposes the Bayesian optimization algorithm (BOA), which uses Bayesian networks to model the promising solutions found so far and sample new candidate solutions. BOA is theoretically and empirically shown to be capable of both learning a proper decomposition of the problem and exploiting the learned decomposition to ensure robust and scalable search for the optimum across a wide range of problems. The dissertation then identifies important features that must be incorporated into the basic BOA to solve problems that are not decomposable on a single level, but that can still be solved by decomposition over multiple levels of difficulty. Hierarchical