Knockoff-Inspired Feature Selection via Generative Models

Anonymous

Sep 25, 2019 ICLR 2020 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Keywords: feature selection, variable selection, knockoff variables, supervised learning
  • TL;DR: We propose a feature selection algorithm for supervised learning inspired by the recently introduced knockoff framework for variable selection in statistical regression.
  • Abstract: We propose a feature selection algorithm for supervised learning inspired by the recently introduced knockoff framework for variable selection in statistical regression. While variable selection in statistics aims to distinguish between true and false predictors, feature selection in machine learning aims to reduce the dimensionality of the data while preserving the performance of the learning method. The knockoff framework has attracted significant interest due to its strong control of false discoveries while preserving predictive power. In contrast to the original approach and later variants that assume a given probabilistic model for the variables, our proposed approach relies on data-driven generative models that learn mappings from data space to a parametric space that characterizes the probability distribution of the data. Our approach requires only the availability of mappings from data space to a distribution in parametric space and from parametric space to a distribution in data space; thus, it can be integrated with multiple popular generative models from machine learning. We provide example knockoff designs using a variational autoencoder and a Gaussian process latent variable model. We also propose a knockoff score metric for a softmax classifier that accounts for the contribution of each feature and its knockoff during supervised learning. Experimental results with multiple benchmark datasets for feature selection showcase the advantages of our knockoff designs and the knockoff framework with respect to existing approaches.
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