Authors: Jagdhuber, Rudolf
Rahnenführer, Jörg
Title: Implications on feature detection when using the benefit–cost ratio
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: In many practical machine learning applications, there are two objectives: one is to maximize predictive accuracy and the other is to minimize costs of the resulting model. These costs of individual features may be financial costs, but can also refer to other aspects, for example, evaluation time. Feature selection addresses both objectives, as it reduces the number of features and can improve the generalization ability of the model. If costs differ between features, the feature selection needs to trade-off the individual benefit and cost of each feature. A popular trade-off choice is the ratio of both, the benefit–cost ratio (BCR). In this paper, we analyze implications of using this measure with special focus to the ability to distinguish relevant features from noise. We perform simulation studies for different cost and data settings and obtain detection rates of relevant features and empirical distributions of the trade-off ratio. Our simulation studies exposed a clear impact of the cost setting on the detection rate. In situations with large cost differences and small effect sizes, the BCR missed relevant features and preferred cheap noise features. We conclude that a trade-off between predictive performance and costs without a controlling hyperparameter can easily overemphasize very cheap noise features. While the simple benefit–cost ratio offers an easy solution to incorporate costs, it is important to be aware of its risks. Avoiding costs close to 0, rescaling large cost differences, or using a hyperparameter trade-off are ways to counteract the adverse effects exposed in this paper.
Subject Headings: Feature costs
Feature detection
Benefit–cost ratio
Feature selection
Cost-sensitive learning
Issue Date: 2021-06-03
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Appears in Collections:Statistische Methoden in der Genetik und Chemometrie

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