Gradient-based Laplacian Feature Selection

Bo Wang, Anna Goldenberg

Analysis of high dimensional noisy data is of essence across a variety of research fields. Feature selection techniques are designed to find the relevant feature subset that can facilitate classification or pattern detection. Traditional (supervised) feature selection methods utilize label information to guide the identification of relevant feature subsets. In this paper, however, we consider the unsupervised feature selection problem. Without the label information, it is particularly difficult to identify a small set of relevant features due to the noisy nature of real-world data which corrupts the intrinsic structure of the data. Our Gradient-based Laplacian Feature Selection (GLFS) selects important features by minimizing the variance of the Laplacian regularized least squares regression model. With $\ell_1$ relaxation, GLFS can find a sparse subset of features that is relevant to the Laplacian manifolds. Extensive experiments on simulated, three real-world object recognition and two computational biology datasets, have illustrated the power and superior performance of our approach over multiple state-of-the-art unsupervised feature selection methods. Additionally, we show that GLFS selects a sparser set of more relevant features in a supervised setting outperforming the popular elastic net methodology.

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