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Feature Engineering in Dimensionality Reduction

  • July 01, 2023
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Meet the Author : Mr. Bharani Kumar

Bharani Kumar Depuru is a well known IT personality from Hyderabad. He is the Founder and Director of Innodatatics Pvt Ltd and 360DigiTMG. Bharani Kumar is an IIT and ISB alumni with more than 17 years of experience, he held prominent positions in the IT elites like HSBC, ITC Infotech, Infosys, and Deloitte. He is a prevalent IT consultant specializing in Industrial Revolution 4.0 implementation, Data Analytics practice setup, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Industrial IoT, Business Intelligence and Business Management. Bharani Kumar is also the chief trainer at 360DigiTMG with more than Ten years of experience and has been making the IT transition journey easy for his students. 360DigiTMG is at the forefront of delivering quality education, thereby bridging the gap between academia and industry.

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What is Feature Engineering?

In order to create a machine learning model, relevant features, also referred to as variables or predictors, are chosen, extracted, and transformed. This process is known as feature engineering. It entails using domain expertise and data analytic tools to develop additional features that might enhance a model's efficacy and accuracy. When the original data is insufficient, noisy, or irrelevant, feature engineering—which includes data cleaning, data scaling, dimensionality reduction, and feature selection—is frequently utilised.

Effective feature engineering may significantly improve the accuracy, efficiency, and interpretability of machine learning models.

Feature Engineering in Dimensionality Reduction

Feature Engineering in dimensionality reduction:

Feature engineering can play a crucial role in dimensionality reduction. By selecting and creating the most relevant features, it can help to reduce the number of features without losing important information, leading to more efficient and accurate models.

For example, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a commonly used dimensionality reduction technique that is based on linear combinations of the original features. However, PCA is limited by the assumption that the original features are normally distributed and linearly related. Feature engineering can help to create new features that better satisfy these assumptions and thus improve the effectiveness of PCA.

Another illustration is reducing the amount of features before utilising dimensionality reduction approaches by using feature engineering techniques like feature scaling, normalisation, and encoding. This can aid in reducing the dimensionality reduction process' complexity and computing expense while still protecting the most crucial data.

Overall, feature engineering may be a strong method for dimensionality reduction since it enables the development of more informative features and the elimination of useless or unimportant ones, which results in models that are more accurate and effective.

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Feature Selection:

Feature selection is a process of selecting a subset of relevant features (variables, predictors) from a larger set of features that are available in the dataset. The main objective of feature selection is to improve the performance of the model by reducing overfitting, reducing the computational cost, and improving the interpretability of the model.

There are various methods of feature selection, including filter methods, wrapper methods, and embedded methods. Filter methods involve ranking the features based on statistical measures like correlation, chi-squared, or mutual information, and selecting the top features based on the ranking.

In wrapper approaches, the model is trained using a subset of features, and the best subset with the greatest performance is chosen. For example, L1 regularisation is used in linear regression, while decision tree-based feature selection is used in random forests. Embedded approaches entail embedding feature selection as a part of the model training process.

Care should be used while choosing features because doing so might lead to a model with subpar performance. Before choosing the features, it is crucial to comprehend the domain knowledge and the connections between the features.

Selecting the Best Features Manually:

Selecting the best features manually involves selecting a subset of features from the original set of features that are most relevant for a particular task. This process involves a combination of domain knowledge, intuition, and experimentation. The steps involved in selecting the best features manually are as follows:

1. Understand the problem: It is essential to have a good understanding of the problem at hand and the goals of the analysis before selecting the features.

2. Identify the relevant features: Based on domain knowledge and intuition, identify the features that are likely to be most relevant to the problem. These features should be closely related to the target variable.

3. Eliminate redundant features: Features that are highly correlated with each other can be redundant and may not add any value to the analysis. Such features can be eliminated to simplify the model.

4. Experiment with different combinations of features: Try out different combinations of features and observe the performance of the model. This process may involve trial and error and may take some time.

5. Evaluate the performance of the model: Use appropriate evaluation metrics to measure the performance of the model with different subsets of features. Select the subset of features that gives the best performance.

6. Validate the model: Validate the selected subset of features on a validation set to ensure that it performs well on new data.

Manually selecting the best features can be time-consuming and requires expertise and experience. However, it can lead to a more accurate and interpretable model. It is also essential to note that this process may not always result in the optimal set of features, especially in complex problems with a large number of features. In such cases, automated feature selection techniques can be used to identify the best subset of features.

Selecting the Features Systematically:

By employing automated algorithms and methodologies, the optimal subset of characteristics that improve a model's predictive ability are found through the systematic selection of features. Statistical testing, machine learning techniques, or a mix of the two may be used for this.

Feature selection methods that are often employed include:

1. Filter Techniques: These methods rank the characteristics in accordance with their dependence or correlation with the target variable using statistical tests. Then, depending on a predetermined threshold value, the characteristics are chosen.

2. Wrapper Methods: These methods train the model on various subsets of characteristics and assess its performance using a machine learning algorithm. The best performance-producing characteristics are chosen.

3. Embedded Methods: With these methods, feature selection is included into the model-training procedure. Methods like Lasso and Ridge regression, which penalise the model for utilising characteristics that don't improve its performance, might be used in this context.

These methods allow data scientists to automate the feature selection process and pinpoint the most crucial characteristics for a particular model, lowering the possibility of overfitting and enhancing the model's precision and interpretability.

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