MATLAB Answers


feature reduction via regression analysis

Asked by joeDiHare
on 16 Jul 2012
Accepted Answer by Ilya

Suppose you have a very large feature vector X, used to predict a a vector of expected values y.

Is the sequential linear linear regression,

e.g.:   coeff=regress(y, X);

followed by sequential feature reduction,

e.g.   [coeff_subset] = sequentialfs(fun, X, y, 'direction', 'backward'); 
  % where: fun = @(XT,yT,Xt,yt)(rmse(regress(yT, XT)'*Xt')', yt);

the easiest/best approach to get the a reasonable sized feature vecture when no other information is known?

It seems that, from my testing, this method rarely captures the features that matter the most, and I obtained better results by randomly selecting some of the features.


Last TWO things.

1. Intrestingly, results were completely ruined by one feature veacture being close to Inf for all values. By setting it to zero, correlations went from near zero to back up again. Why is it?? If I zscore it, it works a bit, but then it messes up with non "normalised" test values.

2. I noticed that if you re-run stepwisefit, you could get some more feature out. Is there a iterative stepwisefit?

on 18 Jul 2012

I have trouble interpreting what you wrote in 1 because I still don't know what you mean by correlation. I thought you were saying that the correlation between each individual predictor and the observed response (measured y values) was small for all predictors but one. But setting one predictor to zero cannot have any effect on correlations between the other predictors and the response. And so "correlations went from near zero to back up again" is a mystery to me. Then perhaps by "correlation" you mean correlation between the predicted response and observed response? I don't get how that can be zero after you added the predictor with 94% correlation to the model either. If that happens, something must've gone bad with the fit.

Instead of re-running stepwisefit, I would recommend playing with 'penter' and 'premove' parameters.

Thanks, I will tweak p values to get what I need.

About 1, yes, it is strange to me, but correlation between predicted and observed responses goes to zero because there is one feature that has wild values.

I don't know why it happens, but by setting the bad feature (e.g. feat #71) to 0, corr goes to 94% again (and a bit higher).


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1 Answer

Answer by Ilya
on 17 Jul 2012
 Accepted answer

If you prefer linear regression, use function stepwisefit or its new incarnation LinearModel.stepwise. For example, for backward elimination with an intercept term you can do

load carsmall
X = [Acceleration Cylinders Displacement Horsepower];
y = MPG;
stepwisefit([ones(100,1) X],y,'inmodel',true(1,5))

In general, there is no "best" approach to feature selection. What you can do depends on what assumptions you are willing to make (such as linear model), how many features you have and how much effort you want to invest.


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