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In Microprocessors and microsystems

Feature selection is one of the most important challenges in machine learning and data science. This process is usually performed in the data preprocessing phase, where the data is transformed to a proper format for further operations by machine learning algorithm. Many real-world datasets are highly dimensional with many irrelevant, even redundant features. These kinds of features do not improve classification accuracy and can even shrink down performance of a classifier. The goal of feature selection is to find optimal (or sub-optimal) subset of features that contain relevant information about the dataset from which machine learning algorithms can derive useful conclusions. In this manuscript, a novel version of firefly algorithm (FA) is proposed and adapted for feature selection challenge. Proposed method significantly improves performance of the basic FA, and also outperforms other state-of-the-art metaheuristics for both, benchmark bound-constrained and practical feature selection tasks. Method was first validated on standard unconstrained benchmarks and later it was applied for feature selection by using 21 standard University of California, Irvine (UCL) datasets. Moreover, presented approach was also tested for relatively novel COVID-19 dataset for predicting patients health, and one microcontroller microarray dataset. Results obtained in all practical simulations attest robustness and efficiency of proposed algorithm in terms of convergence, solutions' quality and classification accuracy. More precisely, the proposed approach obtained the best classification accuracy on 13 out of 21 total datasets, significantly outperforming other competitor methods.

Bacanin Nebojsa, Venkatachalam K, Bezdan Timea, Zivkovic Miodrag, Abouhawwash Mohamed


COVID-19 dataset, Feature selection, Firefly algorithm, Genetic operators, Quasi-reflection-based learning, Swarm intelligence