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Title: From 'tree' based Bayesian networks to mutual information classifiers : deriving a singly connected network classifier using an information theory based technique
Author(s): Thomas, Clifford S.
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: For reasoning under uncertainty the Bayesian network has become the representation of choice. However, except where models are considered 'simple' the task of construction and inference are provably NP-hard. For modelling larger 'real' world problems this computational complexity has been addressed by methods that approximate the model. The Naive Bayes classifier, which has strong assumptions of independence among features, is a common approach, whilst the class of trees is another less extreme example. In this thesis we propose the use of an information theory based technique as a mechanism for inference in Singly Connected Networks. We call this a Mutual Information Measure classifier, as it corresponds to the restricted class of trees built from mutual information. We show that the new approach provides for both an efficient and localised method of classification, with performance accuracies comparable with the less restricted general Bayesian networks. To improve the performance of the classifier, we additionally investigate the possibility of expanding the class Markov blanket by use of a Wrapper approach and further show that the performance can be improved by focusing on the class Markov blanket and that the improvement is not at the expense of increased complexity. Finally, the two methods are applied to the task of diagnosing the 'real' world medical domain, Acute Abdominal Pain. Known to be both a different and challenging domain to classify, the objective was to investigate the optiniality claims, in respect of the Naive Bayes classifier, that some researchers have argued, for classifying in this domain. Despite some loss of representation capabilities we show that the Mutual Information Measure classifier can be effectively applied to the domain and also provides a recognisable qualitative structure without violating 'real' world assertions. In respect of its 'selective' variant we further show that the improvement achieves a comparable predictive accuracy to the Naive Bayes classifier and that the Naive Bayes classifier's 'overall' performance is largely due the contribution of the majority group Non-Specific Abdominal Pain, a group of exclusion.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences
Computing Science and Mathematics

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