Feature Selection for Unsupervised Learning

Jennifer G. Dy, Carla E. Brodley; 5(Aug):845--889, 2004.


In this paper, we identify two issues involved in developing an automated feature subset selection algorithm for unlabeled data: the need for finding the number of clusters in conjunction with feature selection, and the need for normalizing the bias of fe ature selection criteria with respect to dimension. We explore the feature selection problem and these issues through FSSEM (Feature Subset Selection using Expectation-Maximization (EM) clustering) and through two different performance criteria for evaluating candidate feature subsets: scatter separability and maximum likelihood. We present proofs on the dimensionality biases of these feature criteria, and present a cross-projection normalization scheme that can be applied to any criterion to ameliorate these biases. Our experiments show the need for feature selection, the need for addressing these two issues, and the effectiveness of our proposed solutions.